Bsc Thesis - Work to live or live to work?

By Xiaoke Wu

Full title: Work to live or live to work? A comparison study between Ph.D. candidates in China and the Netherlands

This paper investigates how structural uncertainty and inequalities affect work-life balance experiences among PhD students in different social-political contexts. Specifically, it compares the experiences of Chinese PhD students in the Netherlands, where work-life balance is legally and culturally supported, with those in China, characterized by rapid economic growth, high competition, and limited resources.

By conducting 12 semi-structured interviews, this study reveals that restrictions and power imbalances contribute to wider economic inequalities and greater uncertainties among CN-CN interviewees, resulting in the lowest level of work-life balance. Conversely, NL-NL PhDs enjoy higher levels of work-life balance due to their autonomy and labor empowerment. In between, CN-NL participants experiences both restrictions and autonomy as non-labor identities in labor protecting welfare, resulting in a middle range of work-life balance. Finally, the paper concludes by suggesting several policy reforms that could help alleviate the structural constraints faced by Chinese PhD students.

Author: Xiaoke Wu

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