This course offers an introduction to research methods in political science for students interested in qualitative approaches. It consists of a theoretical part and of an “illustration” part. In the theoretical part, the teacher will introduce research in social sciences, looking at the major paradigms of social research, the main investigative approaches (quantitative and qualitative) and the methods and techniques for qualitative research, to which the course is dedicated.

To illustrate the characteristics of the various methods, the course will then use practical examples taken from works of political scientists (mostly publications dedicated to China). In this way students will not only have the chance to familiarize themselves with various research methods, but also to enrich their knowledge on studies dedicated to China’s political and administrative phenomena. The course is open to all IN-EAST students and students in political science. Practical issues concerning the conduction of research in China (accessibility, language, reliability of information...) will also be addressed. There are no specific requirements for this course, except being able to understand English and write in English and course attendance. Although not compulsory, participation in the course allows the students to better grasp the proposed contents and interact with the teacher.

 Course description:


The seminar focuses on the post-reform period and is organized around the theme of consumption. Consumption is often dealt with in the economic sense, as the other side of production and a portion of GDP. Our interest in this term and its application to Chinese society concerns its sociological meaning, which relates to the use and using up of things (Warde 2005).   This approach provides both a thematic guide and a theoretical angle with which to examine key developments in contemporary Chinese society as well as the social practices and institutions therein. The course’s topics include the coalescence of the urban middle-class, the education system and its reforms, food security, user technology (such as WeChat), tourism, ethnicity, and gender. Pairing these topics with an overarching conceptual framework is intended to help prepare students to develop their M.A. thesis on sociological topics relating to China and East Asia. The main course material consists of recent readings in English by renowned Chinese and non-Chinese social scientists.




Readings are assigned for each session. Students are encouraged to consult the syllabus for details on how to access readings.



The course provides a cross-regional context for understanding  the East Asian region since the post-WWII settlement.

The aim is to understand the historical trajectories that shaped the region and its constituent parts, China (Chinese Mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau), Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Republic of Korea, Japan and Mongolia.  The lectures  address the legacy of regional divisions and conflicts during the Cold War, the Chinese transition economy, the emergence of the "post-Communist" world order, as well as dynamics promoting and/or counteracting regional integration.  We will look at main developments, factors and players from synthesizing, cross-boundary and cross-disciplinary perspectives. By completion of the course. students should have acquired skills in analyzing, synthesizing and debating specific events and phenomena in the context of cross-cutting trends in East Asia.