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Being global versus being Chinese : a case study of returned students in Hong Kong

Authors Lai, Wan-Wa
Issue Date 2001
Summary Hong Kong Chinese have always faced a dilemma in claiming a regional, localized Hong Kong identity and in claiming a cultural, national Chinese identity. The colonial history of Hong Kong has distinguished the city from any other Chinese societies. While inheriting the cultural legacy of Chinese people, Hong Kong Chinese see themselves distinct from Chinese people in Mainland China or in other Chinese societies. Since 1 July 1997, Hong Kong has become a part of China. The end of colonial era in Hong Kong sees an emergence of Chinese nationalism and patriotism in the ex-British colony. Hong Kong Chinese have few doubts with their Chinese nationality since then. Yet the zealous emphasis on Chinese-ness and nationalism has created tension to Hong Kong people, who are also very proud of their global personality and the international, cosmopolitan outlook of the City. In this study, I am interesting in learning how Hong Kong Chinese deal with this tension through maneuvering their different identities, in particular, as a global person and as Chinese national. I interviewed a group of returned Canadian university graduates, who exemplify the tension between being globalized and being nationalistic in postcolonial Hong Kong. I have noticed that my informants, consciously or not, strategically use essences of Chinese-ness and western-ness in the construction of their Hong Kong identity. This strategic essentialization in identity construction empowers my informants in passive resistance to the mainstream culture.
Note Thesis (M.Phil.)--Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 2001
Language English
Format Thesis
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