Rao Yichen

      RAO YICHEN 饒一晨

      PhD Student (Admitted in 2018 – 2019)
      Field Area: Science, Medicine, and Technology in Society


      G10, May Hall, The University of Hong Kong
      Tel: (852) 3917-8131

      Sharing & Experiences

      I am honored to newly join the Institute as a PhD student. Before moving here, I completed an MPhil degree in Anthropology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. I conducted fieldwork in a treatment camp of Internet addiction in Beijing and published an ethnography on internet addiction treatments and social control. After graduation, I worked for a global think-tank on micro-entrepreneurship projects, including a survey of “Village Taobao” entrepreneurs in rural China. Currently, I am working on a study of the dating coach industry in China. Also trained as a psychological counselor, I am interested in exploring the intersections of social structures and individual experiences.

      Research Interests

      Psychological and Medical Anthropology, Internet Addiction, Dating Coach, Institution and Organization, Online Culture, Digital Industries, Mental Health, STS

      Thesis Project

      Crush by design: Dating coaches and “seduction industry” in China

      “Seduction industry” refers to an emerging coaching business that helps people improve their charms and “value” in dating, and become confident, capable and popular in dating. This industry developed out of a male-dominated community of “Pick-up Artists” (PUA), also known as “seduction community”, that first gained popularity in the US in the 1990s and then began to spread to other countries around the world. In China, the PUA community started to emerge after 2007 upon the introduction of the New York Times best-seller The Game by publishers in Taiwan. This publication triggered the emergence of a Mainland Chinese community of PUA that has since developed into a million-dollar industry consisting of different schools of seduction, different types of services, and clients from both genders and all classes. This industry draws on emerging online dating technologies as well as on the authoritative knowledge of evolutionary psychology, behavior science and the pseudoscience of “valuation”, applying financial logic to interpret an individual’s values in a relationship. This project will show how the science and technology of PUA is playing an important role in shaping show young Chinese adults perceive, experience and express gender subjectivity, love and intimacy in their everyday lives. The project will focus on three inter-related questions: 1) How is science and technology being deployed by dating coaches to design “crush experiences” and theorize dating skills? 2) What is this emerging industry contributing to a reconfiguration of gender relationships and patterns of love and intimacy in a fast-changing patriarchal society? 3) What are the cultural differences in the dating coaching practices in China, as compared to other East Asian and Western countries?

      Thesis Supervisors

      Primary supervisor: Dr. Gonçalo D. Santos

      Co-supervisor: Dr. David A. Palmer

      Selected Publications

      Forthcoming 2018 “From Confucianism to Psychology: Rebooting Internet Addicts in China”, History of Psychology (Special Issue: history of psychology and psychiatry in the global world).

      2015《網癮少年與中國社會控制模式的變革 》, 《文化縱橫》, 第5期, 頁64-71.
      (2015 Internet Addicts and the Transformation of Social Control Mode in China, Beijing Cultural Review, BCR, no.5, pp. 64-71)

      2015 Coming of Age with Internet Addiction: An Ethnography of Institutional Encounter and Subject Formation. M.Phil Dissertation. The Chinese University of Hong Kong.