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Renowned sociologist Kaufmann visits Wuhan
2016-09-21

  By Helen Pan

  What does the content of a woman's purse say about her? Is there a connection between a couple's dirty laundry and the state of their relationship? What can be inferred from the way a couple sleeps and the distance between them while they sleep? Most of us probably have no idea how to answer these questions. These questions and many others are explored in the works of leading French sociologist Jean-Claude Kaufmann. The famous author visited Wuhan this past week. Many local residents were able to meet Kaufmann and gain insight into various social issues.

  Kaufmann is a professor of microsociology at University of Paris V Sorbonne. He is well known in France for his witty books on romantic relationships and gender roles and what seemingly trivial factors tell us about these topics. So far, he has published more than 30 literary works, many of which have been translated into other languages, Chinese included. For Kaufmann, the things in life which are often overlooked are the things which often reveal the most. As a microsociologist, he is constantly observing the world around him.

  At a recent press conference, Kaufmann said, "A woman's bag can tell her story. For instance, after a woman gets pregnant, her bag gets bigger." He also pointed out that women tend to carry tissues with them; men usually do not. He said, "If a man needs a tissue, he will ask his wife or a woman near him for tissues." Kaufmann said that small things like this can tell us a lot about gender roles in modern society. His research tends to analyze general social trends using common things at the basic unit level of a society.

  This was Kaufmann's first time in Wuhan, and his one and only stop in China. From September 14 to 18, Kaufmann delivered lectures at local universities sharing his thoughts on gender roles, identities, and relationships. "I am eager to hear how Chinese readers view my works," Kaufmann said.