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Title: Class identities in Hong Kong
Author: John Lee, Chun Wing
ISNI:       0000 0004 2669 4995
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2008
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The decline of class politics and the reflexive modernization thesis are two major arguments against the relevance of class analysis when studying contemporary advanced society. Inspired by Bourdieu's theory of class, this thesis examines these two theoretical arguments through exploring whether and how class processes operate in Hong Kong. Based on in-depth qualitative interviews with 56 informants from Hong Kong, this thesis shows how the power of class is manifested in the informants' childhood experience, education, work histories, everyday life and political orientations. Even though explicit class identifications are not necessarily salient or clear among the informants and political class discourse only appeals to those who grew up in industrial Hong Kong, the informants' class identities are submerged in their daily practices, lived experiences and political orientations. While the data gathered for this study initially seem to offer qualified support for the reflexive modernization thesis (since many informants appear to think reflexively and individualistically when narrating their life stories) I argue that class analysis remains useful. I show how the freedom to make choices is largely a privilege of those who occupy an advantaged position in the social structure. Moreover, the way in which individuals reflect on their own biographies is heavily influenced by their class habitus. While I argue that class is an important structural factor in terms of understanding contemporary post-industrial Hong Kong, this thesis also emphasizes the relevance of life-course or generation when understanding Hong Kong society because the lived experiences of the informants, including the class processes which they are exposed to, are very different depending on whether they grew up in industrial or post-industrial Hong Kong.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available