Yoonkyung Lee

Interim-Director, Centre for the Study of Korea
Korea Foundation Chair of Korean Studies
Professor, Department of Sociology
Headshot of Yoonkyung Lee

Areas of interest

  • Labor protest
  • Social movements
  • Inequality
  • Neoliberalism
  • Contentious politics


Main Bio

Yoonkyung Lee is a political sociologist specializing in labour politics, social movements, political representation, and the political economy of neoliberalism with a regional focus on East Asia. She earned her Ph.D. in political science from Duke University and was associate professor in Sociology and Asian and Asian-American Studies at State University of New York-Binghamton (2006-2016) before joining the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto in 2016. She has also been the director of the Center for the Study of Korea (2019-2022).

Yoonkyung Lee is the author of Militants or Partisans: Labor Unions and Democratic Politics in Korea and Taiwan (Stanford University Press, 2011) and Between the Streets and the Assembly: Social Movements, Political Parties, and Democracy in Korea (University of Hawaii Press, 2022). Her recent publications include “Cold War Undercurrents: The Extreme Right Variants in East Asian Democracies” (Politics and Society, 2021), “Seoul as a Site of Labor Resistance: The Spatial Representation of Inequality and injustice” (European Journal of Korean Studies, 2021), and “Neoliberal Methods of Labor Repression: Privatized Violence and Dispossessive Litigation in Korea” (Journal of Contemporary Asia, 2019).

Select publications


Theories of Social Movements
Research Practicum
Comparative Political Sociology
Social Movements
Transnational Asia