Hong Kong: Migrant Lives, Landscapes, and Journeys

University of Chicago Press
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In 1997 the United Kingdom returned control of Hong Kong to China, ending the city’s status as one of the last remnants of the British Empire and initiating a new phase for it as both a modern city and a hub for global migrations. Hong Kong is a tour of the city’s postcolonial urban landscape, innovatively told through fieldwork and photography.

Caroline Knowles and Douglas Harper’s point of entry into Hong Kong is the unusual position of the British expatriates who chose to remain in the city after the transition. Now a relatively insignificant presence, British migrants in Hong Kong have become intimately connected with another small minority group there: immigrants from Southeast Asia. The lives, journeys, and stories of these two groups bring to life a place where the past continues to resonate for all its residents, even as the city hurtles forward into a future marked by transience and transition. By skillfully blending ethnographic and visual approaches, Hong Kong offers a fascinating guide to a city that is at once unique in its recent history and exemplary of our globalized present.
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About the author

Caroline Knowles is professor of sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, and the author of Race and Social Analysis. Douglas Harper is professor of sociology at Duquesne University and the author of Changing Works: Visions of a Lost Agriculture.

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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Dec 15, 2009
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9780226448589
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / International / General
Social Science / General
Social Science / Sociology / Urban
Travel / Asia / China
Travel / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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First published in 1999, this volume examines new forms of cultural diversity which result from migration and globalization. Historically, most liberal democracies have developed on the basis of national cultures – either a single one, or a dominant one, or a federation of several ones. However, political and economic developments have upset traditional patterns and have blurred established boundaries. Ongoing immigration from diverse origins has inserted new ethnic minorities into formerly homogenous populations. Democratic liberties and rights provided opportunities for old and new marginalized minorities to resist assimilation and to assert identities. The resulting pattern of multiculturalism is different from earlier ones. Often cultural boundaries are neither clearly defined nor do they simply dissolve by assimilation into a dominant group – they have become fuzzy and a constant source of real or imagined hostility and anxiety. A proliferation of mixed identities goes together with stronger claims for cultural rights and escalating hostilities between ethnic minorities and national majorities. In many countries multiculturalism is today perceived as a challenge rather than as an enrichment. The book focuses on the question how institution and policies of liberal democracies can cope with these trends.

The book addresses two tasks:

1) To compare different national contexts and types of ethnic groups (immigrant and indigenous, linguistic and religious minorities) and to discuss how policies of multicultural integration have to be adapted in order to cope with such differences.

2) To evaluate the impact of common rends of globalization which link societies and encourage convergence between national models of multicultural integration.

'This book is well researched and highly accessible. It is both a useful and much needed addition to the literature on race and social research' - Ethnic and Racial Studies

'The book is well laid out with glossaries of significant new terms and summaries of key points at the end of each chapter, extensive notes and a very useful bibliography. Knowle's book is a welcome contribution to our understanding, and its emphasis on social analysis helps to bridge what sometimes appears to be a widening gap between the academic and policy/practitioner communities. She provides some significant insights into the inter-relationships between everyday race/ethnicity making and contemporary political and theoretical understandings'

- Runnymede's Quarterly Bulletin

'Knowles writes eloquently about how we can challenge and change racist ideas, and ideas about race...this is an important and enjoyable book, which would be valuable to academics or students of any discipline' - Sociological Research Online

In Race and Social Analysis, Caroline Knowles combines biographical and spatial analysis to provide an up-to-date account of the ways race and ethnicity operate in a global context.

The author argues that race and ethnicity is intricately woven into the social landscapes in which we live - encompassing both the mundane interactions of daily life and the ways in which the contemporary world is organized. Through social analysis, the book shows the ways in which we all contribute to race making and the forms of social inequality it produces.

Drawing on the work of other authors in the field and extending it to provide some avenues into conceptualizing and researching race, Caroline Knowles examines:

· how race and ethnicity operate in the social world

· the making of race and ethnicity by the connections between people, spaces and places

· the ways race and ethnicity articulate current analytical themes in social science such as space, movement and global networks

· the ways in which broader structures of racial orders are apparent in everyday lives and the stories people tell about them

· the ways in which places and spaces are raced and ethnicised

· the ways in which race is significant in the operation of globalization and global migration

· the making of whiteness

Race and Social Analysis offers a grounded theoretical examination of race & ethnicity that draws upon examples in Britain, the United States, Canada and Australia. It offers a unique take on the available literature by adding a missing British account of `whiteness'.

There is nowhere else in the world quite like Chungking Mansions, a dilapidated seventeen-story commercial and residential structure in the heart of Hong Kong’s tourist district. A remarkably motley group of people call the building home; Pakistani phone stall operators, Chinese guesthouse workers, Nepalese heroin addicts, Indonesian sex workers, and traders and asylum seekers from all over Asia and Africa live and work there—even backpacking tourists rent rooms. In short, it is possibly the most globalized spot on the planet.

But as Ghetto at the Center of the World shows us, a trip to Chungking Mansions reveals a far less glamorous side of globalization. A world away from the gleaming headquarters of multinational corporations, Chungking Mansions is emblematic of the way globalization actually works for most of the world’s people. Gordon Mathews’s intimate portrayal of the building’s polyethnic residents lays bare their intricate connections to the international circulation of goods, money, and ideas. We come to understand the day-to-day realities of globalization through the stories of entrepreneurs from Africa carting cell phones in their luggage to sell back home and temporary workers from South Asia struggling to earn money to bring to their families. And we see that this so-called ghetto—which inspires fear in many of Hong Kong’s other residents, despite its low crime rate—is not a place of darkness and desperation but a beacon of hope.

Gordon Mathews’s compendium of riveting stories enthralls and instructs in equal measure, making Ghetto at the Center of the World not just a fascinating tour of a singular place but also a peek into the future of life on our shrinking planet.
Good Company: A Tramp Life, is a vivid portrait of a lifestyle long part of America's history, yet rapidly disappearing. The author traveled extensively by freight train to gain rich insights into the elusive world of the tramp. Richly illustrated with 85 photographs by the author, the book presents the homeless man as an individual who "drank, migrated, and worked at day labor" rather than the stereotype of a victim of alcoholism. The tramps with whom Harper shared boxcars and hobo jungles were the labor force that harvested the crops in most of the apple orchards in the Pacific Northwest. They were drawn to the harvest from across the United States and migrated primarily on freight trains, as had hobos in the 1930s. Although not without its problems, the tramp way of life is a fierce and independent culture that has been an integral part of our American identity and an important part of our agricultural economy. Since the first edition of this classic book was published by the University of Chicago Press, the tramp has virtually disappeared from the American social landscape. The agricultural labor force is now made up of Hispanic migrants. This significantly revised and updated edition contrasts this disappearing lifestyle with the homelessness of the modern era, which has been produced by different economic and sociological forces, all of which have worked against the continuation of the tramp as a social species. The new edition richly documents the transition in our society from "tramps" to urban homelessness and the many social, political, and policy changes attendant to this transformation. It also includes an additional thirty-five previously unpublished photographs from the original research.
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