Yu (Rachel) Guo

Doctoral Candidate

Biography

I am completing my Ph.D. in sociology under the direction of Dr. Patricia Hill Collins, and I expect to get my degree by May 2018. My research focuses on social inequality broadly and covers such diverse areas as political economy, labor and employment, culture, intersectionality, gender and sexuality, migration, and social psychology. I employ both qualitative and quantitative methods in my research to answer different types of questions about social inequality. I have published an article in Demography with Dr. Feinian Chen on migration and health and another article in International Journal of Sociology with Dr. Jeffrey Lucas on culture and cognitive orientation. I also have three papers under review and two manuscripts in preparation. I am as passionate about teaching as doing research. I have taught independently the sociology of gender with high evaluation scores, and I have been teaching assistant for a range of courses including sociological theory, research methods, statistics, and educational inequality. I will also be a Teaching Fellow at the Teaching and Learning Transformation Center in 2017-2018.

Dissertation

Rural Migrant Workers' Agency in Capitalist Production in China

My dissertation, “Rural Migrant Workers’ Agency in Capitalist Production in China”, was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant. I conducted an ethnography on rural migrant factory workers in China, where I examine patterns of work agency in reproducing structures of labor exploitation in capitalist economy. My findings demonstrate the limit of seeing migrant workers merely as laborers in exploitative factory relations. Instead, they are multi-dimensional social beings whose complicated agency is shaped by broader cultural and social contexts. For example, the Chinese culture of seeing social hierarchies as normal and natural prevents the workers from challenging the hierarchical management systems. Contrarily, they desire and pursue harmonious power relations in the factories. Also, men and women migrant workers both construct meanings of work through their commitment to traditional family values in China, yet do so for different gender specific reasons. Family separation due to unfriendly migration policies motivates the migrant workers to endure hardship in the factories and make money to compensate for their absence in their children’s growth. Overall, rural migrant workers experience China’s capitalist production and reproduce structures of labor exploitation in both intersectional and culturally specific ways.

http://www.sixthtone.com/users/1198

Areas of Interest:
  • Social theory
  • Rural migrant workers in China
  • World system
  • China
Degrees
  • MA
  • Yu Rachel Guo picture
4114 Art/Sociology Building
Department of Sociology
Email: yuguo@umd.edu