Juntao Lyu

Juntao Lyu


Academic background

I am from one of the millions rural-to-urban migrant workers families in China. My life experiences as a “left-behind child” and a “migratory bird” enable me to have an early awareness on migration-related social issues in China, and the curiosity of ‘why people have to be like this’ encouraged me to study sociology for my degrees.

I received my BA in Law from Anyang Normal University and my MA in Law from the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing. After I completed my master study, I came to the University of Leeds to do my PhD. There are two reasons for me to do PhD here. The first one is to develop proper research skills preparing for the future academic career, and the second one is to experience multicultural overseas life with a better understanding on our living world.

I always believe that people deserve social justice and the equal opportunities to develop their human potetials, which would eventually benefit our societies. The reality is that many migrants are confronting the lack of social protection, discriminatory policies and problematic healthcare while they are seeking opportunities to improve. I completed my master’s degree thesis by researching the migrant workers’ informal healthcare delivery in Shanghai. My PhD research is turning to explore the subjective process of the Chinese rural-to-urban migrant workers to develop their health understandings and health behaviours in marginalised social positions.

Teaching experiences

  • Teaching Assistant - Semester 2, 2016/2017 Academic Year – SLSP1160 Understanding and Researching the City (level 1) (leading 2 one-hour long seminars per week and marking assignments).
  • Guest Lecturer - May 28, 2018 -  Lecture - Qualitative Research in Psychiatry and Mental Health: Understanding, Implementing and Evaluating. Hold by Shanghai Hongkou Mental Health Centre. Cooperated with the research programme "Qualitative Study on the Precise Indications of Group Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (G-CBT) on Depressive Disorder" (No.20174Y0135). Funded by the Shanghai Municipal Health Commission

Visiting Positions

  • Visiting doctoral student at the Asian Demographic Research Institute at Shanghai University, China. January 2018 – July 2018
  • Visiting Professor Guo, Weihe (Dean of the Sociology Department of Minzu University of China, he is the local advisor for my fieldwork in Beijing) China. September 2018 – December 2018
  • Invited part-time data analyst at the Henan Academy of Social Science (Nanyang branch).

Conferences presentations

  • 10/09/2019 – Australian Social Policy Conference 2019. Presentation – Social Health Insurance & Inequality in China. Link – https://www.aspc.unsw.edu.au/program
  • 12/09/2017 - RC21 Leeds International Academic Conference for Critical Urban Studies: Rethinking Urban Global Justice. Presentation - Seeking Underground Doctors among Chinese Migrant Workers in Shanghai.



  • 2017 - The Story of a Left-Behind Child of China, LYU J. GRIFFITH JOURNAL OF LAW and HUMAN DIGNITY Vol 5, No 1 (2017), 153-165
  • 2016 - A Multilevel Analysis on Client Subjective Evaluation About the Urban Minimum Living Guarantee System in China - Based on Chinese Urban and Rural Poor Families Social Policy Support System Building Project Survey Data of 2013 , LI M, QIU H, LYU J. SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION Vol3, No. 5. (2016), 29-38

Book chapters:

  • 2016 - In View of Fairness and Justice: a Monographic Study of China Social Aid System, 89-112, Guo W, Feng B, LYU J, ISBN 978-7-5087-5327-0. China Social Press, Beijing, 2016

Career expectations

My qualitative research is focusing on people’s health identities and subjectivities, and my quantitative skills are mostly using R to do data analysis in health-related perspectives. After I complete my PhD, I would like to continue my academic career in universities as a researcher, and I am also open to opportunities to work in international organisations, NGOs, or research institutes.


Research interests

My PhD research

My thesis is to theorise lay health beliefs and health-related practices among Chinese rural-to-urban migrant workers. In light of Popay’s lay health knowledge theory (1996), my research takes a further step to examine that why people tend to sacrifice their health in order to pursue other aspirations, such as economic successes. 

My fieldwork is conducted in two migrant workers’ communities in Beijing and Shanghai. By conducting the etnographic research there, my thesis argues that except to make the health-related risk factors knowledgeable and contextualised, we also need to pay attention to  people’s motivations and aspirations shaped by our societies. The final goal of my thesis is to demonstrate that people’s aspirations are constituted by multiple levels of social structural factors based on individual living experiences and circumstances, and health-related issues are negotiated differently according to their different aspirations to achieve.

My research interests

  • Sociology of Health and Illness
  • Migration and health policy studies
  • Health identity and health subjectivity studies
  • Population health
  • Epidemiology
  • Quantitative and qualitative integrated methodologies  
  • Using R to do data visualisation and analysis in social research (relevant practice please visit my WordPress: Juntao Lyu)


  • Master of Laws
  • Bachelor of Laws