Lynette J Chua

Social Sciences (Socio-legal Studies; Law & Society)

Associate Professor


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Associate Professor Lynette Chua is a law and society scholar with research interests in legal mobilisation, legal consciousness, rights, and social movements. She is Associate Professor of Law at the National University of Singapore, with a joint appointment at Yale-NUS as the Head of Studies for the Double Degree Programme in Law & Liberal Arts.

Assoc Prof Chua’s is the author of The Politics of Love in Myanmar: LGBT Mobilization and Human Rights as A Way of Life (Stanford University Press, 2019), which examines how human rights are collectively mobilised and practised on the ground, how they relate to larger social forces, and how the emotions and relationships that people have with and through human rights perpetuate their practice and construct their meanings. The book was awarded the Honorable Mention for the 2019 Gordon Hirabayashi Human Rights Book Award by the Human Rights Section of the American Sociological Association (ASA). Her 2015 Law & Society Review article, ‘The Vernacular Mobilization of Human Rights in Myanmar’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Movement’, based on an earlier phase of the research, was awarded the 2016 Article Prize by the Socio-legal Studies Association in the United Kingdom.

For her latest project, Assoc Prof Chua is conducting a qualitative, empirical study to examine and compare several Asian societies where there are “filial piety laws” that make adult children legally obligated to provide financial maintenance and, in some instances, emotional care, to their elderly parents. Assoc Prof Chua is interested in whether and how such laws are used, and how they relate to shifting practices of filial piety and intergenerational relationships, as the respective societies undergo changes to population flows, economic development, and family structures. She has begun fieldwork in Vietnam, Singapore, and Taiwan, and has made plans to expand to China.

Assoc Prof Chua is also writing a short monograph tentatively titled, ‘The Politics of Rights in Southeast Asia’, as part of Cambridge University Press’ Elements series on Southeast Asian Politics and Society. In this monograph, she will focus on the rights-culture-politics nexus in Southeast Asia. In particular, she will investigate the contested nature of rights, exploring the debates over who are entitled to rights, what sorts of rights they should have, and even who gets to decide on such issues.

Assoc Prof Chua has also conducted ethnographic study on Singapore’s gay and lesbian movement to analyse the emergence, development, and strategies and tactics of the movement, and explore the complex role of law and meanings of rights. Her book, Mobilizing Gay Singapore: Rights and Resistance in an Authoritarian State (Temple University Press, 2014), received the 2015 Distinguished Book Award from the Sociology of Law Section of the American Sociological Association, and the 2015 Book Accolade for Ground-breaking Matter from the International Convention of Asian Scholars, and was selected as a finalist by the Socio-legal Studies Association for the 2015 Hart Socio-legal Prize for Early Career Academics and the European Southeast Asian Studies Association for the 2015 Book Prize. Her 2012 Law & Society Review article, ‘Pragmatic Resistance, Law, and Social Movements in Authoritarian States: The Case of Gay Collective Action in Singapore’, was recognised by the Law & Society Association in the United States with an honourable mention for its 2013 Article Prize.

Assoc Prof Chua is a member of the Law & Society Association’s Board of Trustees (2017-2019) and the trustee class representative (2019) on the Association’s Executive Committee, as well as a trustee of the Asian Law & Society Association. She is a current member of the American Political Science Review, Law & Policy, and Asian Journal of Law & Society editorial boards and a past member of the Law & Social Inquiry editorial board. At NUS, Assoc Prof Chua has been awarded a Ministry of Education Tier II Academic Research Fund (above S$100,000), Humanities and Social Sciences Research Grant, Humanities and Social Sciences Seed Fund, and Humanities and Social Sciences Fellowship. Assoc Prof Chua was also a Fulbright Scholar and held grants from the Social Science Research Council and the National Science Foundation in the United States.

Law and society
Socio-legal studies
Legal mobilisation
Legal consciousness
Law and emotions
Qualitative, empirical scholarship

Conducting Qualitative Socio-legal Research