Valuing Vocation in Our Times: A Collegial Conversation

Prof Kian Woon Kwok
16 Apr 2021 04.00 PM - 05.30 PM Alumni, Current Students, Public


Kian Woon Kwok
NTU Singapore

Date16 April 2021 (Friday)
Time4pm - 5:30pm 

SHHK Auditorium (Level B1) 

Register here or with QR code below:

Kian Woon Sociology Seminar QR Code

Who now speaks of vocation? We spend much of our waking hours working in a job, occupation, profession, career; and specific to us in academia, engaging in teaching, scholarship, research, intellectual work. Max Weber delivered two lectures on vocation (on scholarship and politics) before his death at the age of 56 in 1920, ostensibly a victim of the “Spanish Flu”. A century on, there are uncanny parallels between his times and ours: the rise of science and corporatized universities, nationalism, populism, and ideological polarisation. In addition, the pandemic raises questions on “essential” work –- manual and mental, blue- and white-collar –- and in turn the value, purpose and meaning of work, and for whom? In this light, and consciously avoiding navel-gazing, we will also discuss issues such as “value-neutrality”, moral conviction and social responsibility, the relationship between the personal meanings and public implications of our work, and between scholarship and politics. 

About the Speaker

Kwok Kian Woon, a member of the Sociology faculty, is currently Associate Vice President (Wellbeing) at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Teaching, scholarship, and sociological practice form the core of his intellectual work, which encompasses institution-building and public involvement. His research and publications cover areas such as mental health, social memory, the Chinese overseas, heritage and the arts, civil society, and Asian modernity.