Consuming Hong Kong

Consuming Hong Kong

Consuming Hong Kong

Consuming Hong Kong

Synopsis

This book shows how the detailed ehtnographic study of consumption in Hong Kong can lead to a deeper understanding of Hong Kong life as a whole, as well as of consumption in the world at large.

Excerpt

Consumption forms a critical part of Hong Kong people’s lives today, but it is extraordinary how little academic attention has been paid to consumption in Hong Kong. in the years before and after Hong Kong’s reversion to Chinese rule, hundreds of books and articles have been published that explore the political, legal, economic and social aspects of the hand-over. Many of these books and articles are valuable, and provide interesting and sometimes extraordinary insights. However, it is hard to avoid the conclusion, upon reading these works, that they fail to touch upon areas of Hong Kong that are far more important to most Hong Kong people than the hand-over of Hong Kong to China. Perhaps the key such area is that of consumption.

Some may think of consumption as no more than frivolity, the province of rich people with money and time to spend. On the contrary, every person in Hong Kong consumes, in one form or another, every day: we consume not only food, drink, clothing, electronic goods and housing, but also television programmes, hit pop songs, advertisements, images and ideas. Consumption we may think of as the obverse of production. in Hong Kong, as in other ‘post-modern’ societies, the focus of life has shifted for many from production to consumption; many people do not live to work but work to live, with their leisure pursuits, particularly their purchase and enjoyment of goods and experiences, being most central to their lives. Beyond this, however, consumption transcends this dichotomy . . .

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