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Sociology Research


Ruichen is a PhD student from the Department of Sociology supervised by Dr. Ella McPherson. Her PhD research studies discursive practices of online political satire in China. She is particularly interested in satirical expressions that fall between serious criticisms or even dissidence and purely playful internet (sub-)culture. Her research explores the fluidity and versatility of this highly amusing form of political satire and examines its social and political significance in an authoritarian country.

Prior to her PhD studies, Ruichen did her bachelor and master degrees in sociology at Peking University, China. Her undergraduate dissertation works on the influence of information communication technologies on government organisations. Her master thesis studies the daily practices of petitioners and government agents and suggests a double justification mechanism to explain the petitioning dilemma in China. She now turns to resistance in a digital world and studies how it merges with culture and increasingly applies discursive strategies to communicate, to negotiate, to entertain, rather than to demonstrate, to resist, to subvert.  

Research Interests

Ruichen is interested in language and power in a digital age, with special focus on power struggles over meanings, which involve but are not limited to: gender, cultural identity, ideology, political participation, social contention, knowledge structure, collective memory, etc.

Grants and Projects

Zhang, R. Full scholarship from China Scholarship Council

PhD Supervisor

Research Groups & Affiliations

Job Title:
PhD candidate, Murray Edwards College
Contact Information: