The paradox of academic determinism and adolescent romance in Hong Kong

Annie Hau nung CHAN*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)


How do adolescents negotiate romance in an environment that is hostile to it? Why do they seek out and practice romantic engagements despite negative sanctions? This paper addresses these questions by examining how Hong Kong Chinese adolescents narrate and practice romance in the context of academic determinism–the discourse that academic success is the most important determinant of young people’s futures. I discuss how academic determinism shapes their narratives, ideals and practices of romance. I also analyse the paradox of academic determinism–how it simultaneously de-legitimises adolescent romance and fuels young people’s desire for it. By focusing on transactions between young people and their environments, this paper makes a unique contribution towards theorising how young people negotiate and practice romance in the context of academic pressure, adult surveillance and control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)711-727
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Youth Studies
Issue number5
Early online date17 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - May 2019



  • academic determinism
  • Adolescent romance
  • dating
  • Hong Kong

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