Dr Sung-Hee Lee

Sung Hee Lee

Position: Lecturer in Sociology and Social Policy, Subject Leader JHS Sociology

College: College of Business, Law and Social Sciences

Department: Humanities

Subject area: Social Science

Research Centre: Centre for Society, Religion and Belief

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I am a Lecturer in Sociology and Social Policy within the College of Business, Law and Social Sciences at the University of Derby.

I am also the organiser of the Sociology Research Seminar Series (SSRS) here at One Friar Gate Square which is held every other Wednesdays at 1pm.

Teaching responsibilities

I am currently the module leader for 'Researching Society 1: Methods and Analysis' and 'Family Forms and Personal Ties'. I am also teaching 'Sociological Research Methods', 'Capitalism, Culture and Class' and 'Thinking Sociologically' at undergraduate level.

Research interests

I am currently working on a comparative study across East Asian societies entitled ‘Gender Politics and the Socialisation of Care in East Asian Countries: South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan’. Since I completed my PhD thesis entitled ‘The Impact of Gender Politics on the Socialisation of Care in South Korea’, in 2014 at the University of Bath in the UK, I have been continuing to develop this work to incorporate other East Asian countries. With generous financial support from the College Research Fund at the University of Derby, I was able to complete the first fieldwork phase in South Korea in June last year (2015) and will complete the second stage in Japan in June this year (2016), with the aim being to finish my last one in China and Taiwan in June 2017. I believe that this rich information gathered through in-depth interviews with key policy makers in these countries enables me to explore further the nexus between gender politics and the socialisation of care.


  • PhD in Social Policy, University of Bath, UK
  • MPhil and MA in Social Policy, Chung-Ang University, South Korea
  • BA in Social Welfare (Social Work and Social Policy), Hoseo University, South Korea

Recent publications

Peer-Reviewed Publications

2017, 'The socialization of childcare and a missed opportunity through path dependence: the case of South Korea', Social Politics (forthcoming)
2016, 'Has childcare become less of a burden in South Korea? Exploring the nature of pre- and post-reform childcare provision’, Asian Journal of Women’s Studies, 22(04), pp.414-442. Doi: 10.1080/12259276.2016.1242941
2013, A Study on the Curricula of Social Welfare in the UK Universities and their Content Analysis, Korean Journal of Social Welfare Education, Vol. 24, pp.53-80 (co-author).
2011, The current coordinates of the Korean care regime. Journal of Comparative Social Welfare, Vol. 27(2), pp.143-154 (co-author).
2008, Comparison of Divergent Response in Welfare State Restructuring focused on Childcare Policy, Journal of Critical Welfare, Vol.26, pp.77-123.

Book section

2014, The Curricula of Social Welfare in UK Universities and the Implications for Korean Social Welfare Education. In: Hyun, Y-S., ed. Globalisation and Social Work Education, Korean Council of Social Welfare Education,Seoul: South Korea (co-author).

Recent conferences

  • 2016, The socialisation of childcare and a missed opportunity through gender politics: the case of South Korea, Post-graduate research seminar, 28th May at Meiji Gakuin University, Tokyo: Japan
  • 2016, The impact of gender politics on the socialisation of childcare in Japan, 13th East Asian Social Policy Annual Conference 1-2 July at Ewha Womans University, Seoul: South Korea
  • 2015, The Socialisation of care and gender politics in East Asian countries. 11th Social Security International Academy Conference, 12-13 September 2015 at SUNGKYUNGWAN University, Seoul: South Korea
  • 2015, The Lost Translation of 'gonggongsung' regarding Childcare Reform in South Korea: The Socialisation of care through the Lens of Gender Politics, East Asian Social Policy Annual Conference, 30-31st July 2015 at the National University of Singapore, Singapore
  • 2014, Has Childcare Become Less of a Burden in South Korea? Exploring the nature of pre and post reform childcare provision, In: Seminar 3 of the ESRC International Research Seminar Series: Child Maintenance: International Perspectives & Policy Challenges, 27th June 2014, University of York, York: UK
  • 2013, The UK University Curriculum Content and Development on the Education of Social Work and Social Policy, Korean Council on Social Welfare Education, 27th September 2013, Seoul: South Korea
  • 2013, The Characteristics of Gender Politics in the Reform of Child Care Policy in South Korea, Social Policy Association Annual Conference,  8th-10th July 2013, Sheffield University, Sheffield: UK
  • 2012, The Analytical Framework of Socializing Care: Through the Lens of Gender Politics, East Asian Social Policy & Social Policy Association Joint Conference, 16th- 18th July 2012, University of York, York: UK.

Experience in industry

Government research experience

I am currently involved with a research project entitled 'Social Security Systems in the UK', organised by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs, which is an affiliate of the National Research Council for Economics, Humanities and Social Sciences in South Korea.

I was involved as a research associate on a central government project run by the Ministry of Health and Welfare in South Korea entitled ‘Family Day Care’ in European countries, mainly the UK, France and Belgium (from Feb 2007 to Aug 2008). This project provided me with extensive experience in conducting qualitative interviews with policy makers, representatives from non-governmental organisations as well as practitioners in each country. While working on this project, I strengthened my research skills by analysing relevant secondary data in each focal country along with undertaking qualitative interviews, which allowed me to develop inter-disciplinary perspectives as well as comparative approaches regarding specific family policy areas.

Moreover, I was involved as a research assistant with a local government project in South Korea entitled ‘Accreditation System Indices in Elderly Care Services’ (from Sep to Dec 2005). During this, I was responsible for managing large scale surveys probing conditions in elderly care facilities in Seoul and subsequently analysing the survey data sets using SPSS including: analysis of variance (ANOVA), correlation and regression analysis. I also had responsibility for writing up the findings that emerged from the quantitative data sets, with the aim of setting standards in elderly care facilities to ensure good quality of service provision in Seoul.

International experience

International research project

My involvement in one of the government research projects above led me to work on an international project as a research associate (from Feb 2007 to Mar 2011); the East Asian Database Project, which aimed to establish comparable quantitative data sets recording social care services and informal care provision in East Asian countries. For this initiative I was responsible for data collection regarding Korean long-term care insurance and the informal care burden of caring for elderly people within the family.

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