About me

I am a sociologist whose research focuses on poverty and inequality, governance and state-society dynamics, gender, and class.

I received my PhD in Sociology from the University of California at Berkeley and I am currently Associate Professor and Provost’s Chair in Sociology at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Photo courtesy of T:>Works


I am the author of two books: This Is What Inequality Looks Like (Ethos Books, 2018) and Neoliberal Morality in Singapore: How family policies make state and society (Routledge, 2011).

My academic work have been published in Economy and Society, Signs, Social Politics, Development and Change, Current Sociology, among others.

I am part of a research team working on Minimum Income Standard (MIS) research, examining the questions of what basic needs are in contemporary Singapore and what budgets people need to meet basic standards of living.

Besides research, teaching is a crucial part of my work as a sociologist. First as a graduate student teaching assistant at UC Berkeley, and then as a full-time professor at the Nanyang Technological University, I have been teaching undergraduates since 1998. At NTU, I teach: Classical Sociological Theory; Qualitative Methodology in Social Research; Sociology of Gender; Power, Politics, and the State; Social Movements; Social Class and Inequality; Contemporary Social Theory (for Masters and PhD students). 

Over the last decade, I have contributed regularly to public debate through public lectures and media commentaries in The Straits Times, Today, Channel NewsAsia, Lianhe Zaobao, etc. 

I am an active volunteer with Aware (Association of Women for Action and Research) and currently a Board Member. I am also a founding co-editor of AcademiaSG, a joint effort with other Singaporean scholars to promote Singapore studies and encourage critical debate about the state of intellectual life in Singapore.

You can contact me at yyteo at ntu dot edu dot sg.


  • 2020: This is What Inequality Looks Like shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize (Creative Nonfiction) 
  • 2019: AWARE Awards (Woman of Insight), Association of Women for Action and Research (video)
  • 2019: Nanyang Technological University Provost’s Chair in Sociology
  • 2018: Finalist, The Straits Times Singaporean of the Year
  • 2016: Feminist Scholar Activist Award, American Sociological Association Sex and Gender Section
  • 2013: Nanyang Education Award (School), Nanyang Technological University
  • 2001: Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award, UC Berkeley