Yu Tao
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Hello! And welcome to my personal website!

My name is Yu Tao. I am a DPhil student at the Department of Politics and International Relations in the University of Oxford. I am also a member of and currently a Dahrendorf Scholar at St. Antony's College.

In the broadest sense, I consider myself as an apprentice political scientist – a social scientist whose primary job is to make sense of the social foundations and mechanisms underlying political phenomenon. Trained in both political science and sociology, I tend to believe that these disciplines are simply different in essential research questions instead of methodology or methods.

I am most interested in investigating and explaining the roles played by intermediate organisations in contentious politics in authoritarian states. My ongoing doctoral project looks at the heterogeneous association between religious groups and collective contention in contemporary rural China. Drawing on the first-hand data collected through a randomly sampled national survey, several dozen of in-depth interviews in various Chinese villages, and intensive fieldwork in a coastal county in Southeast China, I argue 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.

In addition, I am a great fan of all varieties of research on state-society relations and intermediate organisations, and am also deeply fascinated by the relationship between disciplinary studies and area studies (especially that between political science and contemporary Chinese studies). When not doing research or pretending so, I am an enthusiastic 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, and mass media entries, as well as some personal information, including my very short bio, some photos, and the prizes and honours that I have been awarded.


Yu Tao


Yu Tao | 陶郁

DPhil Candidate in Politics, Oxford

MPhil (Sociology, Cantab., 2009)

BA(Sociology, PKU, 2008)

BA(Goverment, PKU, 2008)

St Antony's College

St Antony's College

62 Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6JF, UK



This page was last updated on 24 January 2014 | © Yu Tao 2012-14