Yang Yang is a socio-cultural anthropologist whose research combines political economic and psychological perspectives. She has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in the UK and the Pearl River Delta (PRD), China. Her work explores how UK-based artists put up with financial and affective struggles and why they struggle. She is also looking at how an international youth leadership organization shapes the working lives of international migrants in China.


affect and emotion, labour and work, international migration, visual and performing arts, racial politics, the UK


2022,Ph.D., Social Anthropology, University of St Andrews, UK


 2023-present, Research Fellow, Institute of Social Anthropology, School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Nanjing University, China


Chinese Peer-Reviewed Articles

 2018.  Yang, Y. Reflexive blind spots: on the subjectivities of anthropologists and how they deal with concepts. Journal of Guizhou University (Social Sciences), 36 (2): 82-91

 2016.  Yang, Y & Zhang Y. Rethinking "Regional Studies" in Chinese anthropology: a rationale-oriented approach. Nationalities Research in Qinghai, 27 (1): 55-60

 2014.  Yang, Y. Review of "The paper road: archive and experience in the botanical exploration of West China and Tibet (Erik Mueggler)", Journal of History and Anthropology, 12(1): 111-114


 "Re-enacting 'the struggling artist': hardship, hard work and meritocracy in the UK" (in Chinese). Mauss Proseminar. Nanjing University, 23 February 2023  


 "Dominated affect: understanding UK artists' perseverance". European Association of Social Anthropologists 2022 Conference: Transformation, Hope and the Commons. Belfast, UK and Online, 26 - 29 July 2022

 "In the shadow of liberal racism: a case study of UK artists of color". 2022 American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting. New York and Online, 25 February - 1 March 2022

 "The artist's affective double bind: conceptualising UK artists' social critiques". The Anthropology of Britain Seminar, Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK - Anthropology of Britain Network. Online, 11 February 2022

 "Complicating 'cruel optimism' through the struggles and life philosophy of a UK-based artist". European Network for Psychological Anthropology 2021 Conference: Mind Embedded and Embodied – Futures of Psychological Anthropology. Online, 1 - 3 June 2021

 "Aspiration as labour: a case study of UK-based arts practitioners". Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK 2021 Conference: Responsibility. Online, 29 March - 2 April 2021