Xiaoyu Lu

Mr Xiaoyu Lu

Research topic:
Norm Diffusion; International Organisation; Political Ethnography
Degree course:

Research Themes:
United Nations Institutions and organisations International organisations International organisations Norms, legitimacy and justification 

Academic Profile

I am a DPhil candidate in Politics at the University of Oxford (St Antony's College). My general research interest concerns how ideas and norms travel globally and what happens when they arrive at the local level. I embrace an interdisciplinary approach, drawing perspectives from international relations, development studies, history and anthropology. 

My DPhil thesis focuses on the dynamics of norm diffusion, based on an in-depth political ethnography of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in China. I draw attention to the understudied micro-level and everyday practices of norm diffusion, in the context of interactions with emerging powers, and thereby hope to provide a nuanced understanding of local-global relationships and how these symbolic boundaries are constantly transgressed and reshaped.

Before coming to Oxford, I started my Bachelor degree at Nanjing University in China, and transferred to the University of St Andrews, graduating with an MA (First Class Honours, 2014) in International Relations and Anthropology. Previously I have worked as researcher for the Centre for the Study of Religion and Politics, the Centre for Cosmopolitan Studies, and think tanks on foreign policies of Europe and China. My current research involves me working at the UNDP as a researcher and programme assistant, in the areas of equity and governance. In 2016, I acted as an observer in the Peruvian presidential election. I wish to engage my academic thinking more closely with actual practices. This is why I am also a freelance journalist and writer, often contributing to articles in media and non-fiction journals. 


2016-18 Oxford-China Scholarship, China Scholarship Council

2017 Carr and Stahl Fund, St Antony’s College

2017 Dahrendorf Scholar, St Antony’s College

2015 Vice Chancellor’s Fund, University of Oxford

2012-14 Dean’s List, University of St Andrews

2014   Matt Howell Dissertation Prize


Lu, Xiaoyu. 2016. “Art of Bargaining” (Chinese), in “Narratives of Anthropologists in Fieldwork”, edited by Zheng Shaoxiong and Li Rongrong, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, The Commercial Press


Selected Non-Academic Publications:

2016. “The Last Peruvian Revolution” (Non-fiction), in DanduDecember 2016, Taihai Press.

2016. "Brexit, Absurd Politics or Democratic Choices?", in Initium Media, 22nd June. 

2015. "A Complicated Welcome of Xi", BBC Chinese, 26th October. 


Conference Papers and Presentations

2017. "Localising the Global? Storytelling and Norm Diffusion through UNDP China", Presentation at British Postgraduate Network for Chinese Studies Annual Conference.

2016. “Ideas, Leaders and the Politics of Consensus: Lessons from Party Reform in Britain and China”, Presentation at GEM-Fudan International Workshop on “China and the EU in a Multipolar World”.

2016. “Reconstruct Our World-Views: The Rise of China’s New Left, its International Thought and World Politics, 1989 to 1999”, Selected to the 10th Pan-European Conference on International Relations.

2015. “Bring the Order out of Chaos: A Comparative Perspective on the Responses to Ideological Radicalism”, Presentation at St Antony’s Graduate Conference.