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Ms Yan Xia

PhD Student



I obtained my Master degree in Sociology at Sun Yan-sen University. I have conducted two main research projects. The first concerns Chinese migrant female workers’ consumption and its relationship with their social identities. Another project focuses on local government’s over-budget banquets.

These two studies have been published in Chinese journals, and both of them have won “the first prize of excellent conference papers in the Annual Conference of Chinese Sociology” in 2011 and 2013 respectively.

My current research project focuses on the dynamic process of social upgrading of workers undertaking knowledge-intensive work in China’s high-tech industry. I will use a case study to examine how workers’ benefits and rights change during the process of a firm’s economic upgrading. My analysis will integrate the global value chain approach with labor process theory.

I was a visiting scholar at Asian/Pacific Studies Institute at Duke University in 2016, funded by the Lee Hysan-HKIHSS Fellowship.


MA Sociology
Sun Yat-sen University

BA Anthropology
Sun Yat-sen University

Research interests

Labor in China
Organizational studies
Economic sociology
Qualitative research methods

Honours and recognitions

Lee Hysan-HKIHSS Fellowship, 2016.
Lee Shau Kee Postgraduate Fellowship, 2013.
The first prize of excellent conference papers in the Annual Conference of Chinese Sociology, 2011; 2013.

Selected publications

Journal articles:

Yan Xia & WANG Ning, 2013, “The Institutionalization of ‘Above-standard Official Banquets: a case study of a county government.” Sociological Studies (5). (in Chinese) 严霞, 王宁. 2013. “‘公款吃喝’的隐性制度化:一个中国县级政府的个案研究”. 《社会学研究》,(5), 1-25.

WANG Ning, YAN Xia. , 2011, “The Duality of Consumption and Double Identities: A Qualitative Study of the Physical Consumption of Female Migrant Workers in Service Sector in the J Industrial Zone in Guangzhou.” Jiangsu Social Sciences (4). (in Chinese)王宁,严霞. 2011. “两栖消费与两栖认同——对广州市 J 工业区服务业打工妹身体消费的质性研究”.《江苏社会科学》(4), 90-100.

YAN Xia. , 2012, “The ‘McDonaldlization’ and ‘anti-McDonaldlization’ of Backpacking-style Travel.” Youth Exploration (4). (in Chinese) 严霞,2012,“背包旅行的反麦当劳化与麦当劳化”.《青年探索》(4).

Book chapters:

YAN Xia. , 2012, “Study of The Consumption in A National Minority Village”. In Zhang Zhenjiang, Research and Study of Shui People in Dushan County. Beijing: Intellectual Property Publishing House. (in Chinese) 严霞,2012,“双星村村民消费的调查与研究”(调研报告),载于 张振江(主编). 《双星水族——贵州独山双星水族调查与研究》. 知识产权出版社


Yan Xia. 2013 “The Official Banquets in a Chinese County Government”. Shanghai Economic review of Dongfang Daily.2013-11-19. (in Chinese)严霞. 一个县级政府的“公款吃喝”考察. 《东方早报·上海经济评论》2013.

Cited by Honesty Outlook (in Chinese) 2013 (12).