Seminar 28 February 2024 @4-5:30pm: From "Study Gods" to "Lying Flat" and "Let It Rot": youth culture in contemporary China

Published: 22 February 2024

Speakers: Dr Geng Wang and Dr Hua Wang University of Glasgow Room 129, Hetherington Building.

From “Study Gods” to “Lying Flat” and “Let It Rot”: youth culture in contemporary China


The youth culture has demonstrated multifaced features in China. From “Study Gods”, “Lying flat” to “Let it rot”, the constantly changing buzzwords have reflected the youth’s attitudes towards ever-changing socioeconomic structure. In this Seminar, Geng and Hua will lead discussion around youth culture in China and its nuances in different social groups. There is no formal presentation and contributions from the floor are welcome.

Readings for reference: 

Chiang, Yi-Lin. (2022). Study Gods: How the New Chinese Elite Prepare for Global Competition. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Woronov, T. (2015). Class Work: Vocational Schools and China’s Urban Youth. Standford, California: Standford University Press.

Marine Brossard, Lying Flat: Profiling the Tangping Attitude, Made In China Journal, 8 Jan 2023

The Guardian, “The rise of ‘bai lan’: why China’s frustrated youth are ready to ‘let it rot’” 26 May, 2022


Dr. Geng Wang is a lecturer at the School of Education, University of Glasgow. Her research interests revolve around education and work transitions through the life course, particularly in relation to vocational education and training for young people. Using a sociological lens, she has researched topics such as students’ aspirations in vocational colleges, student agency, the institutional arrangement of skills formation, and labour market outcomes. Most recently, she was a Co-I for a British Academy-funded project on precarious work and future careers for young people in South Africa and China.

Dr Hua Wang is a Tutor in Politics. Her main research and teaching interests lie in the areas of business lobbying, state-society relations and the policy processes in authoritarian settings. Her current research focuses on local policy implementations of eldercare policies and central-local policy interactions in China.

The Scottish Centre for China Research is grateful for the support of the MacFie Bequest for its seminar series.

For further information, contact Professor Jane Duckett <>

First published: 22 February 2024

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