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A paper Professor Tian Xiaoli co-authored with a PHD student of our department, Zhang Sai, is awarded the Outstanding Paper Award (for the year 2022-23) by The Academy of Hong Kong Studies (AHKS) .

26 February 2024

A paper Professor Tian Xiaoli co-authored with a PHD student of our department, Zhang Sai, is awarded the Outstanding Paper Award (for the year 2022-23) by The Academy of Hong Kong Studies (AHKS) . The paper is titled “Expert or experiential knowledge? How knowledge informs situated action in childcare practices.” It is published in the journal Social Science & Medicine in 2022.

This is a study of mothers of young children (under 6 years old) in Hong Kong and focuses on their child-rearing practices. In-depth interviews reveal that mothers glean expert knowledge from doctors and experiential knowledge from online resources, social networks, and direct observations. Despite the prevalence of information online and traditional Chinese remedies, mothers do not use experiential knowledge to challenge doctors. Instead, they self-interpret medical advice and set self-determined courses of action based on their own practical situations. Generally, they dichotomize child-rearing and caring issues into medical versus non-medical domains to which they apply expert and experiential knowledge, respectively. How a condition is categorized depends on whether their individualized experiential knowledge is adequate to allow them to manage the health of their child. This study concludes that mothers with alternative health information still respect professional authorities in clinical interactions, which accords with previous sociological studies, but mothers often consider expert knowledge overly generic, so they take initiative to translate generic health-related knowledge into individualized knowledge for their child and determine their own course of action. The theoretical contribution of this research is to bring situational concerns into the debate of professional authority by revealing how the accumulation of experiential knowledge informs situated action.

 The paper is available here

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