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Durham University

Research & business

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Dr Keming Yang, MA in Statistics (Columbia University), PhD in Sociology (Columbia University)

Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology

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During the past few years my main research area has been loneliness. It is a form of mental health problem that has been studied from the perspectives of psychiatry, psychology, philosophy, gerontology. I have studied it as a social problem by examining the effects of social relations and social contexts (class, ethnicity, immigration, national culture, etc.). Ultimately, I see loneliness as a problem that is emblemic of the relationship between the individual and the society at large. Even more generally, I believe that the mission for all social scientists is to tackle social problems, if it is unrealistic to talk about 'solving' them. I have also done some research on private business owners in the context of China's economic development. To me, studying their economic and political life is a key to understanding many seemingly paradoxical issues in contemporary China. Methodologically, I am open to all methodological approaches, but I aim to integrate theory, substantive knowledge, and technical skills with logical rigour. I use statistical methods regularly for analysing large-scale sample survey data, but I have also used case studies and qualitative comparative analysis (QCA). 

Currently I teach Research Design and Process and Categorical Data Analysis in the MA in Research Methods programme. 

I welcome any inquiries about potential study for a PhD degree with me. Any topic in the areas of sociology of mental health and illness, economic sociology, political sociology, social gerontology, or any topic related to China or comparative cross-national studies will be considered.

Research Projects

Department of Sociology

Research Interests

  • Economic sociology and entrepreneurship
  • Sociology of mental wellbeing
  • China
  • Statistical methods in social research
  • Social gerontology

Selected Publications

Authored book

Chapter in book

Edited book

Journal Article

Other (Digital/Visual Media)

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Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Entrepreneurship / SME: China's economic, political and social development, entrepreneurship, research design, quantitative methods, loneliness among older people in comparative perspectives