Research Projects

Hong Kong: City on the Move

Project Description

This group project was an exercise in “crossing borders” with its intellectual framework as hybrid and fluid as the object of its study. Team members and their contribution titles included:

  1. Johannes Chan (Law, HKU). “Law and Citizenship”
  2. Chan Yuen-ying (Media Studies, HKU). “Media, Culture Industry, and Intercity Linkages”
  3. Elaine Ho (English, HKU). “Institutionalization of English and Social Mobility”
  4. Helen F. Siu (Anthropology, Yale). “Culture on the Move: Rethinking Cosmopolitanism in a World City”
  5. Richard Y.C. Wong (Economics, HKU). “Mapping Hong Kong’s Human Landscape”
  6. Wong Siu-lun (Sociology, HKU). “Immigration, Emigration and the Unmaking of Hong Kong’s Middle Class”

Team members treated Hong Kong as “a space of flow” between empires, trading communities, industrial assembly lines and, now, global finance, consumption and the media. A vibrant city culture on the move, brash and luxurious, Hong Kong has been a dominant ordering frame and trend setter.

Their understanding of Hong Kong challenged positivist social science and highlighted Hong Kong’s real but constantly changing borders with China and the world. They paid close attention to complex historical experiences that are crucial components of the “two systems”. The team investigated the many dimensions of the “Hong Kong identity” — the lives, aspirations and cultural capital that made up institutional practices. These dimensions are key to understanding Hong Kong’s present successes as well as its weaknesses, with implications for policy decisions. Junior scholars and graduates students have taken part in front-line research in all of these projects.