Le Lin, Faculty, Department of Sociology, UH Mānoa

Le Lin

Assistant Professor
Office: Saunders 212
Telephone: 1 (808) 956-8451
Email: lelin@hawaii.edu


I grew up in a Chinese state-owned hospital where all physicians lived in dormitories, so I witnessed how China’s medical services transformed from socialist public goods into highly marketized arrangements. After college graduation, I worked as a teacher and manager at China’s largest education corporation. This work experience sparkles my curiosity in understanding how and why China’s education and training sector, initially positioned by the Chinese government as non-private and not-for-profit, grew into the world’s largest for-profit education market. This vast market spawns a dozen globally influential education firms, penetrates into the government-controlled basic education, and exerts a tremendous impact on the inequality of the Chinese society.


  • PhD, Sociology, University of Chicago, 2017
  • MA, Sociology, University of Chicago, 2012
  • MA, Education (Teachers College), Columbia University, 2009
  • BA, Economics (with Honors), Zhejiang University, 2003


  • SOC 100: Introduction to Sociology
  • SOC 356: Sociology of China
  • SOC 419: Analysis in Formal Organizations
  • SOC 720: Comparative Study of East Asia
  • SOC 723: Seminar in Modern Chinese Society


My research interests include economic and organizational sociology, professions, education, focusing especially on how these topics unfold in modern and contemporary Chinese society. By examining how China’s education and training and other similar industries grew out of state restrictions and ambiguity, my book project unravels puzzles of market transition and organizational innovation. This book project also proposes novel trajectories of how China’s market capitalism emerges, how it co-evolves with the state and how it shapes formerly socialist public goods such as education and medicine.