Beyond public health : the cultural politics of tobacco control in Hong Kong

  • Wai Yin CHAN

Student thesis: PhD Thesis (Lingnan)


This work provides cultural and political explanations on how and why cigarette smoking has increasingly become an object of intolerance and control in Hong Kong. Since the 1980s, the smoking population has been falling. Smoking behavior, sales and promotion of cigarette products have been under close surveillance by the government, medical experts and society at large. Cigarette smoking, as well as smokers, has increasingly been rejected and demonized in the public discourse. What are the conditions that make the growing intolerant discourses and practices against cigarette smoking possible and dominant? Why and how has the tobacco control campaign become prevalent as a governmentalist project, which is strong enough to tear down the alliance of tobacco industry giants? Why is tobacco singled out from other legal but harmful substances, such as alcohol, as an imperative object of intolerance and control? This work tackles these questions by adopting a Foucauldian discursive approach and the theory of articulation developed in cultural studies. By considering tobacco control as a historical and contextual practice, it traces the specific trajectory of tobacco control in Hong Kong, maps the cultural and political contexts that make it possible, and considers its consequence regarding the complex relationship among control, construction of risk, identity and freedom in society.
Date of Award2009
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Department of Cultural Studies
SupervisorJohn N. ERNI (Supervisor) & Po Keung HUI (Supervisor)

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