Research interests: Political sociology, law and society, economic sociology, sociology of media and information technologies, sociology of work, labor and labor movements, science and technology studies, development, and Chinese studies
Ya-Wen Lei is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at Harvard University. She is also affiliated with the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard. Trained in both law and sociology, she holds a LL.M. and a J.S.D. from Yale Law School and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Michigan. After graduating from Michigan in 2013, she was a Junior Fellow at the Society of Fellows at Harvard University (2013–2016). In academic year 2018–2019, she was a visiting professor at Sciences Po in France.
She is the author of The Contentious Public Sphere: Law, Media, and Authoritarian Rule in China (Princeton University Press, 2018). Her second book, The Gilded Cage: Techno-State Capitalism in China, is forthcoming with Princeton University Press in Fall 2023. She has published in general sociological journals (American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, and Socius), specialized social science journals (Law and Society Review, Work, Employment and Society, and Political Communication), and a China studies journal (The China Quarterly). Her publications have received various awards from the American Sociological Association, the Law and Society Association, and The China Quarterly—the leading interdisciplinary journal in China studies.
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