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Yang Song joined the Department of Geography as a PhD student in Human Geography in October 2014. Previously, he completed his MA in Social Research in the Univerity of Birmingham (2012-2013).

His research interests centre around transnational/translocal migration, urban transformation, social inequality and grassroots social spaces (spatial anarchism), with a particular focus on Chinese urbanism and social mobility. Conceptually-influenced by Bourdieu and Lefebvre, most of his research proposes a radical critique of the neoliberal expansion of capitalist social relations in contemporary China.

He is also a committee member of the City+, a London-based network for PhD students and early-career researchers working in the field of urban studies.


Thesis title: 'Translocality and capital negotiation amongst urban second-generation labour migrants in Hangzhou, China'

Despite a large body of work examining the experiences of internal migrant labourers in a wide range of contexts, there remains little research on the experiences of second-generation migrants. In turn, existing research on second-generation migrants tends to focus on those at international and transnational rather than internal levels. Yang's research aims to address this neglect through an examination of the nature and extent of the spaces of reproduction among contemporary Chinese second-generation internal migrants in Hangzhou, a major city on China’s east coast. 

This research argues that the diverse social, economic and cultural linkages developed by the second generation between the countryside and cities serve as coping practices to negotiate capital accumulation. By employing the notion of ‘space’ as both an epistemological concept and a methodological approach, this research argues that second-generation migrants’ capital negotiation occurs across multiple translocal places that directly entails the reproduction of translocal space. These, in turn, enable the second generations to mobilise capitals translocally in ways that allow them not only to accumulate but also to confront the multiple exclusions they experience in the city.

PhD supervision

Further details

See Yang's research profile