Zi Wang


► Short CV

Zi Wang is postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of East Asian Studies and co-investigator (with Florian Coulmas) of the research project “Language, Migration and Happiness”, fully funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). He obtained his PhD (summa cum laude) in sociology and Japanese studies from the University of Duisburg-Essen in 2018 and has since held visiting lectureships/fellowships in France (Sciences Po Paris and Sciences Po Lille), Italy (Ca’ Foscari Venice) and Japan (Waseda University). Zi Wang has numerous publications that span multiple fields from education to happiness and migration to youth studies. These include two research monographs, Migration, Language and Happiness (Routledge, forthcoming) and The Discursive Construction of Hierarchy in Japanese Society: An Ethnographic Study of Secondary School Clubs (De Gruyter, 2020). In 2019, he co-edited a special issue in the Journal of Asian Pacific Communication (JAPC) on Asian diasporas in Western Europe (with Florian Coulmas), upon invitation by the JAPC editorial team at John Benjamins. His solicited book reviews on demographic change (Japan) and education (China and Japan) have appeared in Asian Studies Review and Contemporary Japan. Zi Wang’s research interests span the disciplines of happiness studies, migration research and youth studies. The main focus of his works is to find out how factors such as education and language affect well-being, especially for migrants and youths. His extensive fieldwork experience includes a year-long ethnographic study of secondary school students in Japan, in-depth interviews with migrant families in Germany, and designing a four-language (Chinese-German-Japanese-Turkish) questionnaire on migration, language use and well-being.

► Research Interests
  • Happiness research
  • Language and migration
  • School to work transition in Japan
  • Youth in Japan


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