Dr Tian XiaoliAssociate Professor
+852 3917 5695
Xiaoli Tian is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Hong Kong. She received her Ph.D. from Department of Sociology, The University of Chicago. Her research interests include how preexisting knowledge paradigms and cultural norms influence the way people respond to unexpected transformations of their everyday routines. This interest is reflected in her two main lines of research: medical knowledge as situated practices and social interaction. She has written extensively on various forms of online interactions, including emails, blogs, online literature websites in China, social media, etc. Her writings have been published in American Journal of Sociology; Modern China; Information, Communication and Society; Journal of Contemporary Ethnography; Media, Culture and Society; Studies in Media and Communications; Chinese Sociological Review, Symbolic Interaction, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, among others.
Continuing these two lines of research, her current research focuses on various forms of online interaction, as well as Traditional Chinese medicine in contemporary China.
University of Chicago
Chinese University of Hong Kong
BA Sociology and Economics
Social studies of science and technology
Comparative and historical sociology
Information and communication technology
Privacy and Face-Work on Chinese Social Media (GRF funded project)
Various forms of online interaction in China
Popularity of online fictions in contemporary China (HKU seed fund project)
Honours and recognitions
2018 Early-in-Career Award, Society for the Studies of Symbolic Interaction
2017 Outstanding Author Contribution, Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence
2016 The Huntington Library Fellowship, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, California, USA.
2009 Student Paper Award, the American Sociological Association, Communication and Information Technologies Section
2008 Social Science Research Paper Competition, the University of Chicago
2008 Honorable Mention for the Graduate Student Paper Award Competition, American Sociological Association, Social Psychology Section
2005 Carl Couch Internet Research Award.
Tian, Xiaoli. 2020, accepted and forthcoming. “An Interactional Space of Permanent Observability: WeChat and Reinforcing the Power Hierarchy in Chinese Workplaces.” Sociological Forum.
Tian, Xiaoli. 2019. “The Allure of Being Modern: Personal Quality as Status Symbol Among Migrant Families in Shanghai” Chinese Sociological Review. 51(3): 311-335.
Tian, Xiaoli. (2019) “Space and Personal Contacts: Cross-Group Interaction between Mainland and Local University Students in Hong Kong”. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships vol. 36(1) 63–82.
Lin, Tony Zhiyang and Xiaoli Tian. 2019. “Audience Design and Context Discrepancy: How Online Debates Lead to Opinion Polarization.” Symbolic Interaction. 42(1): 70-97.
A video abstract is available at https://youtu.be/U5qdm6eiQ1M.
Tian, Xiaoli. 2018. “Escaping the interpersonal power game: Online shopping in China.” Qualitative Sociology 41(4), 545-568.
Tian, Xiaoli. 2017. “Immediate Context, Life Experiences, and Perception: How Do Rural Migrants in Urban China Perceive an Unfair Policy?” Chinese Sociological Review. 49 (2): 138-161.
Tian, Xiaoli. 2017. “Embodied versus disembodied information: How online artifacts influence offline interpersonal interaction.” Symbolic Interaction. 40 (2): 190-211.
Tian, Xiaoli and Yunxue Deng. 2017. “Organizational Hierarchy, Deprived Masculinity, and Confrontational Practices: Men Doing Women’s Jobs in a Global Factory.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. 46 (4): 464-489.
Tian, Xiaoli and Michael Adorjan. 2016. “Fandom and Coercive Empowerment: The commissioned production of Chinese online literature.” Media, Culture & Society. 38 (6): 881-900.
Tian, Xiaoli , Daniel A. Menchik (2016). “On Violating One’s Own Privacy: N-adic Utterances and Inadvertent Disclosures in Online Venues.” Studies in Media and Communications, 11: pp. 3 – 30.
Tian, Xiaoli (2016). “Network Domains in Social Networking Sites: Expectations, Meanings, and Social Capital”. Information, Communication & Society. 19 (2): 188-202.
Tian, Xiaoli. 2015. “Rumor and Secret Space: Organ-Snatching Tales and Medical Missions in Nineteenth-Century China.” Modern China. 41 (2): 197-236.
Menchik, Daniel and Xiaoli Tian. 2008. “Putting Social Context into Text: The Semiotics of Email Interaction.” American Journal of Sociology. 114: 332-70.
Tian, Xiaoli. 2016. “Parasocial interaction in the internet era: a sociological analysis of online literature in China.” Journal of Tsinghua University (Philosophy and Social Sciences). 31 (1): 173-181.
Tian, Xiaoli (with Han Xiaoyan). 2015. “(Immediate Context, Culture, and Selective Attention: The Perceptions of Long-term Petitioners).” Journal of Tsinghua University (Philosophy and Social Sciences). 30 (1): 59-67.
Tian, Xiaoli (with Han Xiaoyan) 2016. “制度、文化、与日常确证——外来移民及其子女的情景性身份认同Institution, Culture, and Corroboration of Everyday Life – Situational Identification of Migrants and their Children in Urban China.” 清华大学学报 （哲学社会科学）Journal of Tsinghua University (Philosophy and Social Sciences). 31(6): 175-182.
Tian, Xiaoli. 2019. “Fantasy is More Believable: The Shadow Civil Sphere in Chinese Online Fiction.” Pp. 167-187 in The Civil Sphere in East Asia. Edited by Jeffrey Alexander, David Palmer, Sunwoong Park and Agnes Shuk-mei Ku. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Tian, Xiaoli. 2017. “Face-work on Social Media: The Presentation of Self on Renren and Facebook.” Chinese Social Media Today: Social, Cultural, and Political Implications. Edited by Mike Kent, Katie Ellis and Jian Xu. Routledge. https://www.routledge.com/Chinese-Social-Media-Social-Cultural-and-Political-Implications/Kent-Ellis-Xu/p/book/9781138064775