School of Social and Political Science

Dr Jingyu Mao

Job Title

Lecturer in Sociology

A portrait of Jingyu Mao
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Building (Address)

Chrystal Macmillan Building

Street (Address)

15a George Square

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Research interests

Research interests

Sociology of Emotions; Intimacy and Personal Life; Work and Migration; Ethnicity and Gender; Rural-urban inequality; Contemporary China; Labour and Welfare


I am a Lecturer in Sociology at the School of Social and Political Science. My research interests include migration, work, emotions, intimacy and personal life, ethnicity and gender, rural-urban inequality, labour and welfare. My forthcoming monograph, entitled Intimacy as a Lens on Work and Migration (with Bristol University Press), focuses on rural-urban migrants in a small city in Southwest China who work as ethnic performers and who are mostly from ethnic minority backgrounds. It explores the intimate consequences of inequalities, and how intimacy, in turn, offers a fresh set of insights into understanding the multi-layered and intersecting inequalities of rural-urban divide, ethnicity and gender in contemporary China. 

Before joining Edinburgh, I worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Sociology at Bielefeld University in Germany, working for the ERC-funded project WelfareStruggles which comparatively explores the logic of welfare provisions for migrant workers in global factories in China and Vietnam. I remain a research associate of the project. I was a visiting fellow for the Joint Project 'Worldmaking from a Global Perspective--a Dialogue with China', through which I visited the Sinology Department at Würzburg University in 2021.


  • PhD in Sociology - University of Edinburgh (2020)
  • MA in Sociology - Warwick University (2014)
  • BA in Sociology and BA in Journalism -- Xiamen University (2013)


Sociology of Emotions: Course Convenor (PG)

Sociology 1B: The Sociological Imagination: Private Troubles, Public Problems (UG)

Sociology Postgraduate Research Seminar: Course Co-convenor (PhD)



Mao, J. (Forthcoming 2024) Intimacy as a Lens on Work and Migration—Experiences of Ethnic Performers in Southwest China, Bristol University Press.

Special Issues

Nguyen, M. T. N., Mao, J., & Rydström, H. (Eds.) (Accepted/In press). Special Issue: Reconfiguring Labour and Welfare in the Global South: Market Participation as the Social Question. Global Social Policy.

Mao, J., Nguyen, M.T.N., & Wilcox, P. (Eds) (In progress). Special Issue: Rural Futures in Late Socialist Asia: the Countryside in a Globalising World. Journal of Political Sociology

Peer-reviewed journal articles

Mao, J., & Zhu, Y. (2024). ‘Friends are those who can help you out’: unpacking the understanding and experiences of friendship among young migrant workers in China. Families, Relationships and Societies, 13(1), 17-33.

Nguyen, M. T., Rydstrom, H., & Mao, J. (2024). Reconfiguring labour and welfare in the Global South: How the social question is framed as market participation. Global Social Policy, 0(0). (online first)

Mao J. (2023) Doing Ethnicity: Multi-layered Ethnic Scripts in Contemporary China. The China Quarterly. 256:977-991. doi:10.1017/S0305741023000681

Mao, J. (2023) Bringing emotional reflexivity and emotional regime to understanding ‘the hukou puzzle’ in contemporary China. Emotions and Society, available from: (published online ahead of print 2023).

Lin, J. & Mao, J. (2023) More equitable fiscal systems are needed to improve welfare provision for migrant workers in China and Vietnam. Melbourne Asia Review. Edition 14. 

Lin, Q. & Mao, J. (2022) A New Job after Retirement?: Negotiating Grandparenting and Intergenerational Relationships in Urban China, China Perspectives, 2022/1: 47-56. 

Mao, J. (2021) Bordering work and personal life—Using ‘the multiplication of labour’ to understand ethnic performers’ work in Southwest China, China Perspectives, 2021/1: 9-17.

Book Reviews

Mao, J. (2022) Dystopian Emotions: Emotional landscapes and dark futures (Bristol: Bristol University Press, 2022), Edited by Jordan McKenzie and Roger Patulny, Emotions and Society,

Mao, J. (2018). Masculine Compromise: Migration, Family, and Gender in China (California: University of California Press), Written by Susanne Yuk-Ping Choi and Yinni Peng,  Sociological Research Online, 23(3), 705–706.

Mao, J. (2016). Development Interventions, Gender and Social Change in Rural China—A Case Study of Three Villages in Shaanxi (Moldova: Lambert Academic Publishing), Written by Lichao Yang, Women and Gender in Chinese Studies Review, vol.11.

Policy Briefs 

Lin, J. & Mao, J. (2022) Policy Brief: Changing Household Registration Systems and Worker Welfare in China and Vietnam, Bielefeld University:…

Lin, J. & Mao, J. (2022) Policy Brief: Changing Labour Laws and Worker Welfare in Vietnam and China, Bielefeld University:…

Lin, J. & Mao, J. (2022) Policy Brief: Taxation and Welfare Provision in China and Vietnam, Bielefeld University:…

Topics interested in supervising

Migration, work and labour, emotions, intimacy and personal life, gender, rural-urban inequality


I am the Subject Area Research Ethics Lead (SAREL) for Sociology. Contact email:


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By appointment. Please write to