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 issues among Chinese migrant workers. It is the reason why I choose sociology as my major.

I obtained my BA in Law from the Anyang Normal University and my MA in Law from the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing. I decided to continue my education by taking the PhD programme at the University of Leeds after I completed my master study. Generally, there are two main motivations for me to do my PhD. 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 believe that people deserve social justice and the equal opportunities to develop their human potentials. However, many migrant workers are still confronting the lack of social protection, discriminatory policy environments and the problematic healthcare over the world. I expect that I can use my academic strength to tackle on these complicated social issues.  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, local advisor for my fieldwork in Beijing) China. September 2018 – December 2018

Academic positions

  • Invited part-time researcher at the Henan Academy of Social Science (Nanyang branch), commenced from May 2018.

Conferences presentations

  • 12/09/2017 - RC21 Leeds International Academic Conference for Critical Urban Studies: Rethinking Urban Global Justice. Presentation paper - 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

During the education pathway I have developed both qualitative research skills and quantitative data analysis skills. My qualitative research is focusing on people’s health identities and subjectivities, and my quantitative skills are mostly using R to do big data analysis in population health 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 research is to theorise lay health beliefs and health-related behaviours as a subjective and interactive process determined by people’s social constructed aspirations in marginalised social positions.  In light of Popay’s lay health knowledge theory (1996), my research takes a further step to answer the question beyond the knowledgeable and contextualised health-related risk factors. The question is that even people are aware of the health-related risks and also the available ways to avoid them, they sometimes still negotiate it with further considerations in their lives. The health narratives collected from Chinese rural-to-urban migrant workers show that health is a negotiable factor which serving for their future aspirations throughout their migration journey.

The fieldwork is conducted in migrant workers’ communities in Beijing and Shanghai. By involving the living experiences of migration, I argue that except to make the health-related risk factors knowledgeable and contextualised, we also need to inspect people’s motivations and aspirations towards to their expected life. 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