Scaling the Socioeconomic Ladder: Uyghur Perceptions of Class Status

Professor Xiaowei Zang, University of Sheffield

24.Mar.2011 09.00 - 10.30
LT16, Roger Stevens Building - Leeds


This paper examines Uyghur subjective class status in Ürümchi, China. Existing studies have identified socioeconomic status and psychological well-being measures as two major determinants of class identification. This study shows that Uyghur ethnic consciousness also affects their choices of class labels. This is partly because Uyghur ethnic consciousness is related to Uyghur-Han inequalities and Uyghurs compare themselves with Han Chinese unfavourably while defining their class positions. Data are drawn from a mass survey (N = 900) conducted in Ürümchi in 2007.


Professor Xiaowei Zang worked in Singapore, Australia, and Hong Kong before joining the University of Sheffield as the Head of the School of East Asian Studies in 2008. His research interests lie in the fields of Chinese politics, ethnicity, gender, and social networks. He has received a number of research grants from the University of California at Berkeley, Flinders University of South Australia, City University of Hong Kong, and the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong.

Professor Zang is the book series editor for Routledge Studies on Ethnicity in Asia and a member of the Editorial Boards of Sociological Focus and The Open Political Science Journal in the USA.

This presentation is part of the Worldwide Universities Network Contemporary China Center (WUN CCC) virtual seminars series, which this year focuses on:

  • China's Changing Urbanities
  • China Business: Green Opportunities
  • Class and Class Consciousness in China

The series allows audiences around the world to hear from leading scholars in contemporary China studies and to engage in dialogue with one another across geographic boundaries. Each seminar includes an interactive question and answer session across all sites.

If you wish to attend the lecture from a WUN member university other than Leeds, please consult your local WUN coordinator for details of where the seminar is being held.

For further information about the series and access to archived video recordings of previous years' seminars, please visit

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All welcome!