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ECNU PhD candidate meets challenges with global perspective


Liu Yuting is a Ph.D. candidate of the Class of 2021 engaged in the Sino-French Joint Ph.D. Program at the School of Social Development of ECNU, specializing in Digital Society and Social Transformation. She is conducting research under the guidance of Prof. Wen Jun and Prof. Laurence Roulleau-Berger, who are her Chinese and French supervisors in the PhD program.

During her graduate studies, she has published 12 papers indexed in CSSCI and SSCI journals, including one independent-authored paper in a Class-A authoritative journal, one independent-authored paper in a first-tier SSCI Sociology journal, and one independent-authored paper in a C-level journal, as well as one first-authored paper in a C-level journal and eight co-authored papers in C-level journals. She was awarded the National Scholarship for Graduate Students in two different terms and has received four honors as an outstanding ECNU student.

Additionally, she led one university-level research project and actively participated in major and key projects funded by the National Social Science Foundation, the JoRISS program, and other domestic and international academic projects. She also presented her research at numerous domestic and international academic conferences while serving as a reviewer for the first-tier SSCI journals.

Liu Yuting participates in the 3rd Congress of East Asian Sociological Association.

Yuting feels that the guidance from her Chinese and French supervisors has empowered her with strong academic support. This has enabled her to fully explore the experiences of both sides and find an academic path that suits her background.

“There are some differences in preferences for doctoral dissertations between the Chinese and French supervisors. The Chinese supervisor considers the robustness of the dissertation to be crucial, avoiding excessive concepts and innovative points to ensure stability. On the other hand, the French supervisor believes that while the theoretical framework may be complex, ensuring the complexity and creativity of the dissertation is more critical. There are differences between the two perspectives, but through a good balance, I believe there is an opportunity for me to accomplish a doctoral dissertation that is both robust and innovative."

Liu Yuting participates in the 2023 Academic Annual Conference of the Chinese Sociological Association.

In Liu Yuting’s view, her communication is an important part of the mutual collaboration between her and the supervisors. This has created a beneficial academic environment for her.

“Before I joined the Sino-French joint cultivation program, Prof. Wen and Prof. Roulleau-Berger had already known each other and collaborated. With mutual trust, the two supervisors have maintained efficient communication. After I came to France for my Ph.D. in 2021, they also collaborated on applying for the JoRISS Sino-French joint research program, whose theme is closely related to my doctoral dissertation. My doctoral dissertation and the JoRISS program have become two important topics for me to communicate and collaborate with my Sino-French supervisors.”

“The aspiration for an academic career” first emerged in Liu Yuting's mind during her undergraduate studies, and it was further clarified during her graduate studies.

When talking about her scientific research, she expects to adhere to the guiding principle of “China-focused with a global perspective” in her future endeavors.  

For “China-focused”, she emphasizes two aspects. The first aspect involves grounding in Chinese experiences and paying attention to the changes and important new social phenomena in Chinese society. Liu Yuting reflects on her focus since 2019, dedicated to observing and studying the significant and subtle changes occurring in China’s digital social transformation. She delves into research on the evolution of labor in the digital society and the impact of digital technologies on sociological research methodologies and has published her research accomplishments in the form of papers. The second aspect is innovation with Chinese characteristics which reflects the unique aspects of Chinese society on the basis of universality.

She also mentioned three aspects encompassed by the “global perspective”. First, viewing China from a global perspective is conducive to gaining a more comprehensive understanding of China's development. Second, disseminating Chinese stories and theories to the international stage may expand the influence of Chinese academia. To this end, she actively publishes not only Chinese-language papers but also English-language papers. Finally, she hopes to observe the world from a Chinese perspective in the future and study the social conditions of other countries.

Achievements published in English papers

“It is exactly because of the opportunity for joint cultivation that I can better develop a global perspective and, at the same time, disseminate Chinese experiences and theories to the world through international platforms. The excellent academic environment provided by ECNU and the wholehearted guidance and encouragement from Prof. Wen Jun have been indispensable forces in my research journey.'"

Like other doctoral candidates, managing the time between a doctoral dissertation and publishing shorter papers is one of the main writing challenges ahead.

“In France, doctoral dissertation research begins in the first year, and before admission it has been discussed and revised with the supervisor several times to establish a research plan. At the same time, I also had the graduation task of publishing shorter papers. During the first and second years of my doctoral studies, I often encountered challenges in coordinating the writing of shorter papers and the doctoral dissertation. Frequently, I found myself struggling to write shorter papers during the same period when my French supervisor expected me to submit content for the doctoral dissertation."

Liu Yuting admits that “courage + practice” is the best approach for her, and she will strive to accomplish both qualities during the PhD program at ECNU.

Copy editor: Philip Nash

Editor: Wicky Xu