St Antony's College
Yu Tao
Research | Publication | Presentation | Teaching | Op-ed | Awards | Bio

Hello! Welcome to my personal website!

My name is Yu Tao. I am finishing my doctoral project at the Department of Politics and International Relations in the University of Oxford. I am also a member and a former Dahrendorf Scholar at St. Antony's College. I was a China Oxford Scholar at Merton College in Academic Year 2010/11.

In Academic Year 2014/15, I work as Lecturer in Asia Pacific Studies (currently 0.4 FTE) at the School of Language, Literature and International Studies (SoLLIS) in the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

In the broadest sense, I consider myself a political sociologist – a political scientist whose primary job is to make sense of the social foundations and mechanisms underlying politics.

I am most interested in investigating and explaining the roles played by intermediate organisations in contentious politics, with a special focus on authoritarian countries. My doctoral project looks at the heterogeneous correlation between religious groups and collective contention in contemporary rural China. Drawing upon first-hand data collected through a randomly sampled national survey, several dozen of in-depth interviews in various Chinese villages, and intensive fieldwork in two coastal counties in Southeast China, I demostrate that different varieties of social capital affect the roles of religious groups in collective contention differently: Bonding social capital is indispensable to the survival and revival of religious groups in hostile environments; bridging social capital extends the influence of religious groups to external villagers; and linking social capital enhances the mutual trust and understanding between religious groups and local states. Based on the results of both my regression models and my comparative case studies, I argue that religious groups which simultaneously contain all these three varieties of social capital are normally more capable in facilitating negotiations, mediatubg disputes, and channelling grievances to be released through contained rather than transgressive contention.

I am also enthusiastic about other sorts of research on state-society relations, intermediate organisations, and contentious politics. In addition, I am deeply fascinated by the relationship between disciplinary studies and area studies (especially between political science and contemporary Chinese studies).

When not doing research or pretending so, I am a big fan of food, books, history, and architecture. I love travelling, reading, watching documentaries, and, occasionally, cooking.

On this website, you can find my latest academic publication, conference presentation, op-ed entries, and teaching materials, as well as some personal information, such as a very short bio of me and the prizes and honours that I have been awarded. In addition, you can also find me on various social media through the contact information provided at the bottom right corner of this page.


Yu Tao


Yu Tao | 陶郁

DPhil Candidate in Politics, Oxford

MPhil (Sociology, Cantab., distinction, 2009)

BA(Sociology, PKU, top of the year, 2008)

BA(Goverment, PKU, top of the year, 2008)

AB 152, Adelphi Building

University of Central Lancashire

Preston, PR1 2HE

This page was last updated on 4 JAN 2015 | © Yu Tao 2012-15