Juntao Lyu

Juntao Lyu


Academic background

My research interests include migration and population health, lay health knowledge, and social policy. As I experienced and witnessed in my life, migration often involves social deprivation or disentitlement. Many migrants are hung in a social dilemma that they can neither staying in destinations nor returning to origins. In some contexts, social exclusion, family separation and personal misunderstandings can be very unhealthy and unbearable. Driven by my life experience as a “left-behind child” from one of the rural-to-urban migrant worker families in China, I decided to study sociology for my degrees when I went to college.

I received my Bachelor of Laws (Sociology) from Anyang Normal University and my Master of Laws (Sociology) from the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing. Doing a sociology PhD at the University of Leeds is a big leap for me to develop essential research skills towards my future academic career. The multicultural academic environment is very helpful for me to develop comparative angles and to rethink the social inequalities and human sufferings that I have been exploring in my research.

Teaching experience

  • Teaching Assistant - Semester 2, 2016/2017 Academic Year – SLSP1160 Understanding and Researching the City (level 1) (leading 2 one-hour-long seminars per week, 4 weeks SPSS instruction, and marking assignments).
  • Guest Lecturer - May 2018 - Qualitative Research Methods in Psychiatry and Mental Health: Understanding, Implementing and Evaluating. Held by Shanghai Hongkou Mental Health Centre. Cooperated with the research project "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.
  • Teaching Assistant- Semester 2, 2019/2020 Academic Year – SLSP1160 Understanding and Researching the City (level 1) (leading 3 one-hour-long seminars per week and marking assignments).

Research Engagement

  • Research Volunteer: Focus group seminar to explore the sexual health survey terminological issues in English - Chinese translation for the “Australian Study of Health and Relationships” research project, led by Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW, Australia. September 2020.
  • Research Assistant: Quantitative data processor for the research project “Urban Expansion and Housing Affordability in China” led by Dr Sun Li at the School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Leeds. August – September 2019.
  • Research Assistant: Qualitative evaluator for the research project "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. May 2018
  • Invited part-time data analyst at the Henan Academy of Social Sciences. 2018

Visiting Position

  • Visiting PhD scholar at the Asian Demographic Research Institute (Shanghai University). Advisor: Professor Guy Abel. Attended course: Statistical Modelling in Demographic Studies. Shanghai, China. January 2018 – July 2018

Conferences presentation

  • 10/09/2019 – Australian Social Policy Conference 2019. Presentation – Social Health Insurance & Inequality in China.
  • 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 expectation

My qualitative research skills include migration and health ethnography, interpretive, narrative and discourse analysis. My quantitative skills include data visualisation and modelling in migration and health-related social research (on platform SPSS, STATA and R). 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

Adopting both demographic and ethnographic approaches, my thesis examines the processes through which health inequalities are reinforced and reproduced among rural migrants in contemporary urban China. It places a particular focus on what appears to be a common struggle shared by rural migrant workers, that of meeting their migration aspirations and expectations while afflicted by health, illness and disease-related constraints. This thesis will first examine the demographic health characteristics of Chinese migrant workers’ before utilising ethnographic research approaches to examine their subjective constructions of health knowledge and lay health practices. By contrasting how migrant workers, specifically migrant parents, manage their family health problems in different individual and social settings, my thesis explores the micro-mechanisms of the reproduction of health inequalities as reflected in migrant workers’ understandings and interpretations of health-related behaviours, lay health beliefs and lay aetiologic accounts. Ultimately, this thesis illustrates the processes through which social inequalities have become embedded in health, which, in turn, shape people’s subjective understandings of achievement and health. Similar to other migrant workers over the world, the health challenges faced by Chinese rural-to-urban migrant workers are influenced by many other broad social inequalities and limitations they encounter in new spaces. As this thesis demonstrates, it is not simply enough to address the health challenges of migrant workers in a vacuum, focusing on illness or disease alone. A greater focus must be placed on understanding the aspirations of migrant workers and their changing perspectives throughout their migration journeys.

My research interests

  • Migration and population health
  • Sociology of Health and Illness
  • Epidemiology
  • Quantitative and qualitative integrated methodologies  
  • Using R to do data visualisation and analysis in social research.


  • Master of Laws
  • Bachelor of Laws

Research groups and institutes

  • The Bauman Institute
  • Centre for Health, Technologies and Social Practice