School of Social and Political Science

Lucia Siu

Job Title


Lucia Siu's photo
Mobile telephone number
(852) 26167208

City (Address)

Hong Kong


Cadres, Gangs and Prophets : the commodity futures markets of China

[Thesis submitted in Jan 2008; Viva passed in Mar 2008]

Lucia's PhD thesis (2008) is the first ethnography conducted in the commodity futures markets of China. It provides field records of the relationship between state structures, quasi-public bodies and the private sector. It shows how social groups align to form capital factions, and how these factions attempt to calculate the actions of each other. In the context of Chinese markets, political power plays a particularly crucial role -- it links up a politicized feedback loop between perception, action and market reality.

Fieldwork includes an internship working in a commodity futures exchange, an internship working in a Beijing futures brokerage firm, and a number of industry training workshops, conferences and interviews held in 6 cities.

The project is sponsored by an overseas research students (ORS) award from the UK Universities, an ORS-linked scholarship from the University of Edinburgh, and a postgraduate scholarship from the College of Humanities and Social Science.


Prof Donald MacKenzie and Prof Francesca Bray


Lucia Siu has 7 years' experience in journalism, covering technology, finance and environment issues in Hong Kong Economic Times, Hong Kong Economic Journal and Sing Tao Daily. She served as a tutor on Quantitative Data Analysis (for postgrads) and Sociology 1 (for undergrads), and she was the web editor for Donald MacKenzie's ESRC site in social studies of finance.

Current job (2008): Teaching Fellow, Department of Sociology and Social Policy, Lingnan University, Hong Kong.


Lucia is completing her PhD studies in Sociology, the University of Edinburgh. She holds an MSc.(distinction) in Science and Technology Studies from the same university, and a BSc. (Hons.) in Computer Science from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.


Donald MacKenzie, Fabian Muniesa and Lucia Siu (eds.) (2007), Do Economists Make Markets? -On the Performativity of Economics, 373 pages, Princeton: Princeton University Press.

C.N. Leung, T.Y. Lo, Kenneth Wong and Lucia Siu (2004), Kwai Tsing: Past and Present, Inheritance and Breakthrough, 189 pages, Hong Kong: Kwai Tsing District Council.

A small amount of contribution in Hong Kong Economic Times (2007), Hong Kong, Wake Up! Keeping up amid Competitions and Crises, 288 pages, Hong Kong: Hong Kong Economic Times.

Conference and working papers

Lucia Siu (2008), "The Floor in Red: Shifting gender and occupational identities in a Chinese futures exchange", to be presented in the American Anthropological Association (AAA) Annual Meeting 2008, San Francisco, 19-23 Nov 2008.

Lucia Siu (2008), "Coercing Consensus: Unintended success of the Octopus electronic payment system", to be presented in the 6th International Conference on Politics and Information Systems, Technologies and Applications (PISTA), Orlando, 29 Jun - 2 Jul 2008.

Lucia Siu (2008), “Cadres in the Markets: the role of state structures in China's commodity futures markets", presented at the 4th Annual Graduate Seminar on China (GSOC), 8-12 January 2008, the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Lucia Siu (2007), “Gangs in the Markets: capital factions and network-based rationality", presented at the Early Careers' Researchers Conference (ECRC) on East Asian Studies, 24-26 October 2007, University of Edinburgh.

Lucia Siu (2002), “Octopus and Mondex: the social shaping of money, technology and consensus", working paper in social studies of finance, University of Edinburgh.


Lucia Siu (2008), “Cadres, Gangs and Prophets : the commodity futures markets of China", PhD thesis, University of Edinburgh.

Lucia Siu (2002), "Swarm, Shadow, Pheromone and Guerilla : clashing rationalities in the dotcom bubble", MSc dissertation, University of Edinburgh.

Memberships in professional organisations

  • Social Studies of Finance Network (SSFN)
  • Society for Social Studies of Science (4S)
  • British Sociological Association (BSA)
  • Hong Kong Sociological Association (HKSA)
  • Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union (HKPTU)

Research interests

Research interests

Consensus and markets , Electronic currencies, Technology and society, Performativity, sociology of knowledge

Works within