Culture and identity

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After the end of the Second World War, the academic trend of defining race according to skin colour, social class, nation and/or colonial relations shifted to new conceptualisations of people and communities. This new paradigm was based on culture, particularly with reference to the post-colonial and the emergence of a globalising world. Coming from the perspective of decolonisation and the construction of new identities, post-colonial thinkers advocated an unprecedented self-consciousness that exceeded previous colonial constructions of race. In 1952, Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks criticised the production of a ‘black and white,’ ‘self and other’ dichotomy within colonial societies and proposed an otherwise impossible rediscovery of self-determination free from the chains of the colonial gaze. Fanon raised an open yet practical question regarding the future of once-colonised communities: they were, in the post-colonial context, stuck between an alien ethnic culture and a familiar ‘white’ world. Echoing the idea that identity is ambivalent, Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak and Homi Bhabha revealed the intertwined relationship between identity and colonialism as a process of negotiation wherein rulers and colonized subjects reconstructed themselves in a scramble for power within a shared colonial discourse. Cultural identities in both the colonial and post-colonial worlds, thus, cannot be clearly demarcated as they ambiguously integrate time, space and emerging local and global developments. It is in this vein that this chapter traces existing literature regarding the construction of the Hong Kong identity, which can be broadly described as a chaotic push and pull of its past as a British colony and its present as a Special Administrative Region of China. The first section of this writing will highlight historical developments before and after the handover that are crucial to, but not often mentioned, in discourses concerning the making of the Hong Kong identity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHong Kong history : themes in global perspective
EditorsMan-Kong WONG, Chi-Man KWONG
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9789811628061
ISBN (Print)9789811628054, 9789811628085
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameHong Kong Studies Readers Series
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISSN (Print)2523-7764
ISSN (Electronic)2523-7772


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