Professor Fei Xiaotong is a leading sociologist and anthropologist in China. His achievements have received international acclaim.
For over fifty years, since his graduation from Yanjing University, he has continued to make great contributions to the development of sociology and social anthropology in China. While Professor Fei was a student at Yanjing University, Wu Wenzao, who had just returned from the United States, exerted a great influence on him. Wu Wenzao advocated community study based on functionalism. In addition, a scholar of the Chicago School of Sociology, R. Park, and another functionalist, Radcliff-Brown were invited and made young Professor Fei realize the importance of an empirical field research. Subsequently, Professor Fei went on to London University where he studied under the leading anthropologists, B. Malinowski and R. Firth. His doctoral dissertation, "Peasant Life in China", gained international acclaim.
After coming home from London, he carried out field work in a rural village in Kunming, Yunnan Province. The conditions were difficult because of anti-Japanese warfare and attacks on intellectuals by reactionary faction members of the People's Party. Professor Fei's book, "Lucun Nong Tian", was based on his field work experience which was carried out under such difficult circumstances. The volume analysed the problems of China's land system from a functionalist point of view, and introduced a historical perspective to the comparative method of sociology. The book later made a significant contribution to theoretical formulation in the field of community studies.
As a sociologist, Professor Fei has made significant achievements in the analysis and subsequent theorization of social phenomena. Furthermore, by applying theories, professor Fei has greatly contributed to the solving of social problems confronting China, such as the issue of minority Chinese nationals and socioeconomic development problems in local cities. In doing so, Professor Fei has always maintained his philosophy of realism. In the latter half of the 1950's, China's academia experienced a period of extreme hardship which lasted for over twenty years. As soon as this difficult period ended, however, Professor Fei resumed his work and devoted himself to making up for lost time by training younger scholars in sociology and anthropology. Professor Fei remains the leading authority in his field. He continues to be actively involved in research work from both a theoretical and empirical perspective and his role has become increasingly important.
Professor Fei Xiaotong's achievements have not only contributed to the development of sociology and anthropology in China, but have also played a significant role in demonstrating the importance of Asia in the world. These accomplishments make Professor Fei Xiaotong particularly worthy of receiving the Grand Prize of the Fukuoka Asian Cultural Prizes.