Dr Yujie (Julie) Chen

Lecturer in Digital Media and Communication

Dr Yujie Chen

Contact Details
Bankfield House, 132 New Walk, Room 006A,
Department of Media, Communication, and Sociology
University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7JA, UK
Telephone: +44 (0) 116 223 1620
Email: yc273@le.ac.uk

Personal Details

I am a Lecturer in Digital Media and Communication in the School of Media, Communication and Sociology at the University of Leicester. Prior to my appointment at Leicester, I spent fourteen months as a Post-doctoral Researcher at the Chinese University of Hong Kong studying the emerging types of digital employment in China, Singapore, and Vietnam, and their implications for the local economy and culture.

I study and write about digital labor issues, particularly focusing on how interplay among technologies, cultural contexts, and existing socio-economic structures impacts on the experience and perceptions of digital work and how workers’ lived experience with media and information technologies help them construct their own narratives.

Ph.D., American Studies (digital media focus), University of Maryland, College Park (2016)Dissertation Title: Invisible Labor for Data: Institutions, Infrastructure and Virtual Space

Committee: Jason Farman (chair), Katie King, Janelle Wong, Jan Padios, Nancy Struna,

Pass with no revision

M.A., International Studies, University of International Business & Economics, China

B.A., English, Foreign Language University, PLA, China

Ongoing Research Grants & Projects



Chen, Y., Mao, Z. and Qiu, J. Super-sticky WeChat and Chinese Society. Emerald (2018). https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/book/10.1108/9781787430914

Chen, Y. Laboring for Big Data: the Coerced, the Invisible, and the Marginalized. University of California Press (under contract).

Articles in Referred Journals

Chen, J. Y. (2017). Thrown under the bus and outrunning it! The logic of Didi and taxi drivers’ labour and activism in the on-demand economy. New Media & Society (September), 1–21. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444817729149

Smith, M., Chen, Y. (corresponding author), Berndtson, R., Burson, K., & Gaches, W. (2017). “Office Hours and Student Faculty Interaction: Moving from Triage to Primary Care.” InSight: A Journal of Scholarly Teaching 27: 12, 14-29. Available at http://insightjournal.park.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/2-Smith-et-al.pdf

Chen, Y. (2014). “Production Cultures and Differentiations of Digital Labour.” tripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique. Open Access Journal for a Global Sustainable Information Society 12, no. 2: 648–67. Available at https://www.triple-c.at/index.php/tripleC/article/view/547/626

Griffin, W., Cohen, S., Berndtson, R., Burson, K., Camper, M., Chen, Y. & Smith, M. (2014). “Starting the Conversation: An Exploratory Study of Factors That Influence Student Office Hour Use.” College Teaching 62, no. 3: 94–99. doi:10.1080/87567555.2014.896777.

Chen, Y. (2013). “Speculations on Bodies and Embodied Spatial Politics in the Transnational Virtual Labor Mobility: the Case of Chinese Gold Farmers,” Powerline 1:1 (April)

Book Chapters

Chen, J.Y. (2017) “Chapter 10: Technologies of control, communication, and calculation: taxi driver’s labor in the platform economy.” in Moore, P., Upchurch, M., & Whittaker, X. (Eds.). Humans and machines at work: monitoring, surveillance and automation in contemporary capitalism (pp. 231–255). London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Qiu, J.L. and Chen, J.Y. (2018). “Chapter 13: Margins at the Center: Alternative Digital Economies in Shenzhen, China.” In Graham, M. (Ed.). Digital Economies at Global Margins, MIT Press, pp.319-39.

Chen, J.Y. (2018) “Mind the gap: When getting-a-ride becomes an app behavior in China.” in H. Galperin, H., & Alarcon, A. (Eds.). The Future of Work in the Global South (pp. 24–27). Ottawa, Canada: International Development Research Centre.

Co-authored Research Reports

Shinagawa, L., Wang, Y., Lee, C.W., and Chen, Y. (2011). A Demographic Overview of Japanese Americans. Japanese American Citizens League and the Asian American Studies Program of the University of Maryland, College Park.

Book Reviews

Chen, Y. (2014). “Technomobility in China.” Book Review of Technomobility in China by Wallis, C. (New York: NYU Press, 2012) in Mobile Media and Communication: 2: 227-228, doi:10.1177/2050157913516693.

Chen, Y. (2012). “Work’s Intimacy.” Book Review of Work’s Intimacy by Melissa Gregg. (London: Polity Press, 2011) in International Journal of Communication 6, 2440-2442.

Chen, Y. (2010). “Internationalizing Media Studies.” Book Review of Internationalizing Media Studies. Ed. Daya Kishan Thussu (London and New York: Routledge, 2009) in International Journal of Communication 4, 1124-1126.

Extension Publications

Chen, J.Y. (2018). “Questioning Data Economy” in The Paper (May 14) (in Chinese). Available at https://www.thepaper.cn/newsDetail_forward_2127766

Chen, Y. (2017). Demystify sharing economy and global little sparks of platform cooperativism. Tootopia (February 7). Available at http://tootopia.me/article/3672 (In Chinese).

Chen, Y. (2016). (Translate). Platform Cooperativism: Challenging the Corporate Sharing Economy. by Scholz, T. C-Center. School of Journalism and Communication. The Chinese University of Hong Kong. (In Chinese). Available at https://platform.coop/resources?page=6

Chen, Y. (2017). (Translate). Society in Transition and China’s Experience. by Li, P. China’s Social Science Press (Routledge, forthcoming). (In English).

Teaching Experience

Module Leader (Since 2017):

Cyber sociology (undergraduate core module)

Digital Media in Everyday Life (postgraduate optional module)

Protest and Activism in the Information Age (undergraduate optional)

Guest Lecturer:

University of Leicester, U.K.

“Super-sticky WeChat and Chinese Society” for MS7085 – Making the Web (Spring 2018)

“Social Media in a Global Context” for MS7009 - Contemporary Issues in Media and Cultural Studies (Fall 2017)

Courses Taught in the Past:

Media and Everyday Life

Cultural Diversity, Work and Play in the Digital Age

Introduction to American Studies


Chen, J.Y. (2018). Debate on Digital China: Visions, Puzzles and Challenges, Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Lund University, September 26-27.

Chen, J.Y. (2018). “Questioning Digital Utility: Didi, Ride-hailing Labor, and the Transformation of Urban Transport in China.” CAMEo Research Institute for Cultural and Media Economies, University of Leicester, June 7.

Chen, J.Y. (2018). “The pendulum of informal practices and inherent contradictions in the platform economy.” Social and Cultural Geographies Research Group Annual Lecture 2018, Northumbria University - Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences, June 6.

Chen, Y. (2018). “At the Margins and Centres of the Netware Economy: Platform workers, Sharing Economy, and Inclusive Development for the Future.” 2018 InterAsian Connections VI: Hanoi - The Netware of the New Asian Economy under the Industrial Revolution 4.0. Hanoi, Vietnam. Vietnamese Academy of Social Sciences (VASS). December 4–7. 

Chen, Y. (2017). “Digitization and the Future of Work: Building a development-oriented research agenda.” International Development Research Centre. Ottawa, Canada. June 15-16, 2017.

Conference Presentations (recent five years)

Chen, Y. (2018). “Connecting the Dots for Digital Labor Activism: Everyday Tactics of Platform Workers” Association of Internet Researchers Annual Conference 2018, Montréal, Canada. 10-13 October.

Chen, J.Y. (2018). “Resisting the ride-hailing platform: Drivers’ tactics and struggles.” Asian Studies in Asia 2018 Conference. India Habitat Center, India. July 5-8, 2018.

Chen, J.Y. (2018). “Data justice meets digital labor studies in the age of platform economy.” Data Justice Conference. Cardiff, Cardiff University, UK, May 21-22.  

Chen, J.Y. & Qiu, J.L. (2018). “Digital Utility: Didi, Ride-hailing Labor, and the Transformation of Urban Transport in China.” Platformization of Chinese Society Workshop, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong. April 12-13, 2018.

Chen, J.Y. (2018). “‘Can A Single Spark Start a Prairie Fire’? Connect the dots in the Chinese platform workers’ tactics of resistance.” International Symposium: Log Out! Resistance Within and Against Platform Labour. McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. March 6. (invited)

Chen, Y. (2017). “Studying Stickiness: WeChat’s Platform Economy.” Society for Social Studies of Science Annual Conference, Boston, USA. August 30-Septemeber 2.

Chen, Y. (2017). “Digitization and the Future of Work: Building a development-oriented research agenda.” International Development Research Centre. Ottawa, Canada. June 15-16, 2017. (Invited).

Chen, Y. (2017). “When taxi-drivers encounter ride-hailing apps: technology, socio-economic structure, and the commodification of ride service.” International Communication Association Annual Conference, San Diego,California,USA. May.

Chen, Y. (2017). “Local phenomenon or a new trend? Development issues and challenges in digital platform economy in Asian developing countries.” The Working Group 9.4 of the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP)-Development Implications of Digital Economies”. Yogyakarta, Indonesia. May.

Qiu, J.L., & Chen, Y. (2016). “Claps of thunder amidst silence: Resisting & reinventing the gig economy in Asia,” Platform Cooperativism Conference, New School, New York City, November.

Chen, Y., Feng Y., & Tian, D. (2016). “Old wine in a new bottle: challenges facing taxi drivers in the platform economy,” Forces of Reticulation: the First Annual Conference of Network Society, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, China, November.

Chen, Y. and Qiu, J. L. (2016) “Bringing the Informal Economy Back In: A Mapping of Chinese Sharing Economy,” Association of Internet Researchers 2016, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany, October.

Chen, Y. (2013). “Displaced or Relocated Digital Labor? Studies on Chinese Game Play-Workers and Transnational Division of Labor in the Virtual World,” 2013 Neil Postman Graduate Conference, New York University, New York, February.

Chen, Y., Smith, M. A., Gaches, W. & Cohen, S. (2013). “Come Right In: What Students Want from Office Hours.” Lilly Conference on College & University Teaching, Bethesda, Maryland, June.

Chen, Y. (2012). “Valorization of the Embodied Presence and Mobility in the Social Media.” Critique, Democracy and Philosophy in 21st Century Information Society, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.

Chen, Y. (2012). “Reclaiming Ethnic Space and Hybrid Identities in the Networked Society: An Ethnographic Study.” Association of Asian American Studies Annual Conference, Washington, D.C.

Chen, Y. (2012). “Consuming Asian (American) Labors in the Information Technology Industry: Immigrants Selectivity and Revision of Asian American Racial Formation.” Association of Asian American Studies Annual Conference, New Orleans: LA.



P-I, Policy Frameworks for Digital Platforms - Moving From Openness to Inclusion, International Development Research Centre (Canada), “Deliver on the Promise of the Platform Economy in China: A Policy Agenda for Inclusive Development” (2017-2018), CAD17, 300

Internal (competitive)

Lead founding member, AI network, University of Leicester (2018-20), £30,000

MSC School Research Support Fund (2017-18), £2,000

Academic Service

University/Departmental Service

Acting Ethics Director for the School of Media, Communication and Sociology, University of Leicester, Spring 2018

Deputy Ethics Director for the School of Media, Communication and Sociology, University of Leicester, 2017-present

Dissertation Supervision for UG

Book Manuscript Review

Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group (Communication)

Journal Manuscripts Review

New Media & Society, First Monday, Internet & Policy, Association of Internet Researchers (2013, 2010), Journal of Information Technology & Politics, Popular Communication Area for International Communication Association Annual Conference, 2010

External Grant Reviewer

Social Sciences Nuclei, Millennium Science Initiative, Ministry of Economy, Development and Tourism of Chile, Chile

External Committee Chairmanship

Scientific Committee Sociology & Humanities Division Chair for Reshaping Work Conference 2018, 25 & 26 October, Amsterdam


Member, Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR)

Member, Society of Social Studies of Science (4S)

Member, International Communication Association (ICA)

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Contact Details

School of Media, Communication and Sociology

Campus based courses
E: mcs-enquiries@le.ac.uk
T: +44(0)116 252 3863

Distance Learning Courses
E: css-dl@le.ac.uk
T: 0116 252 3755

Research degrees (campus-based and distance learning courses)
T: +44(0)116 252 2785
E: MCS-Research@le.ac.uk

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