UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Place and culture in identity construction and negotiation : the case of Hong Kong Me, Carmut


Identity, a contested subject in postcolonial and global cities, is discussed in this thesis as a construct that is represented in the processes of cultural production and consumption of “places”. The postcolonial global city is where identities and cultures blend and contradict, and also where new identities and cultures arise. Portrayed as a space of “in-between” - not entirely “Western” nor exclusively Chinese, Hong Kong demonstrates the complexities of multiple global cultural flows mixing with local and national aspirations of identity. Exactly at a time when the new government and citizens are grasping the identity and culture that is unique to Hong Kong, it threatens to “disappear” in a political and cultural sense (Abbas, 1997). The struggles to define Hong Kong’s identity are exemplified in the outcomes and negotiations of the city’s spatial processes – urban development, renewal, and heritage preservation. Two cases in the cultural production of space are investigated. As studies in contrast: the grand development of the to-be international arts destination West Kowloon Cultural District that symbolizes Hong Kong’s global aspiration, and the local residents’ struggle for the preservation of Wing Lee Street representing the values of Hong Kong’s working class. The narratives of identity projected by those in power (elites, states, markets) are found to contradict with how Hong Kong people identify themselves and their city, and these contradictions are demonstrated in the place negotiations in the city.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International