Mengyang Zhao

About me

I am a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. My interdisciplinary research centers on digital labor, platform economy, and social movements in a global context, with a particular focus on new forms of work, technology, and labor activism under the platform and venture capitalism.

My dissertation, titled “The Rise of Platform Game Work in China”, historizes and analyzes the platformization, labor processes, and social implications of the play-to-earn economy in China. It draws upon longitudinal interviews, participatory observation, and archival research conducted from 2019 to 2022 of three major types of platform game worklive streaming, paid boosting, and game companion/coach—that attracted an estimated 7 million workers.

Beyond academia, I am also a freelance writer, an avid gamer, and a bouldering enthusiast. Read my Chinese writings on my blog.