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Anni Kajanus

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Dr Anni Kajanus is a specialist in the anthropology of China, her research interests include culture and cognition, cooperation, migration, education, gender, family and violence. She is a Marie Curie Research Fellow currently working on a project that brings together methods and approaches from anthropology and psychology to compare the social and cognitive development of cooperative skills and motivations in children of middleclass urban families and working-class families from rural backgrounds in Jiangsu, China.

Anni received her PhD in Anthropology from the University of Helsinki in 2014. Her thesis examined the increased investment in daughters’ education in urban China since the one child policy, within the wider socio-moral transformation of China. Anni's book Chinese Student Migration, Gender and Family follows the sons and daughters of Chinese single-child families who go abroad to study and their families. The relationships of support in the family are renegotiated, and lines of generational and gendered power are changing. While this generation of young women have been raised in an environment that fosters individual achievement and competition, they must eventually find their place in the marriage and job markets that are highly gendered. Women are directed towards less demanding career paths and are wary of becoming 'too successful' to marry. Both female and male student migrants draw from their cosmopolitan experiences and resources when negotiating these tensions. Through their individual journeys of migration, they are at the forefront of the current transformation of the Chinese symbolic markets.

Anni has taught courses in Anthropological Theory, Anthropology of Kinship and Personhood, Fieldwork Methods, and Social Theory. She currently teaches China in Comparative Perspective.


2015, Chinese Student Migration, Gender and Family. Basingstoke, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

2015, Overthrowing the first mountain: Chinese student migrants and the geography of power, Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, 44(3): 79-102.