Yewon A. Lee

Andrea Lee portrait
Assistant Research Professor of International Affairs and Postdoctoral Fellow
[email protected]

Areas of Expertise

Comparative Politics and Capitalism; Urban Studies; Labor and Work; Law and Society; Social Change; NGOs and Social Movements; Ethnography; Comparative History; Qualitative Methods; Global South; Asia; Korea

Yewon Andrea Lee is currently an Assistant Research Professor of International Affairs and Postdoctoral Fellow at The George Washington University Institute for Korean Studies (GWIKS). As a political and labor sociologist and urban ethnographer, Yewon is broadly interested in how speculative real estate interests increasingly dictate the shape and character of urban landscapes and how, in response, ordinary people organize everyday space and practice politics of dissent. Her dissertation, Precarious Workers in the Speculative City: The Untold Gentrification Story of Tenant Shopkeepers’ Displacement and Resistance in Seoul, examines how tenant shopkeepers, who are often labeled as either micro-entrepreneurs or petit bourgeoisie and overlooked as workers, are emerging as agents of social change. She sheds light on the fascinating case of tenant shopkeepers in Seoul organizing to expose the precarity of their livelihoods and, along the way, finding their collective voice as workers.

A series of manuscripts have emerged from this research project, and they have been well received winning many prestigious awards—including American Sociological Association’s 2020 Labor & Labor Movement Section’s Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Graduate Student Paper Award.


Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles


Lee, Yewon (2020) “Reframing Gentrification: How Tenant Shopkeepers’ Activism in Seoul Radically Reframed Gentrification.” Critical Sociology 46(6)