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Tracing ChinaA Forty-Year Ethnographic Journey$
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Helen F. Siu

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9789888083732

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888083732.001.0001

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Retuning a Provincialized Middle Class in Asia’s Urban Postmodern

Retuning a Provincialized Middle Class in Asia’s Urban Postmodern

The Case of Hong Kong

(p.430) 19 Retuning a Provincialized Middle Class in Asia’s Urban Postmodern
Tracing China

Helen F. Siu

Hong Kong University Press

How have city populations in Asia contributed to these transformations in recent decades? As illustrated in chapters in Worlding Cities (Roy and Ong 2011), they have experienced unprecedented volatility in life and work due to intense flows of capital, technology, migrant workers, cultural resources, and fundamental changes in political sovereignty. A rising, predominantly expatriate, middle class in Dubai banks on the city’s future, and that in Mumbai lives for the present, Bollywood style (pp. 160–81). However, a provincialized middle class in Hong Kong seems painfully aware of its having overdrawn past advantages. The emergence of China as a global power provides Hong Kong with opportunities but exacerbates its vulnerabilities. Circulation of its population is key for future survival or aggrandizement. But in the postwar decades, Hong Kong’s diverse migrant population has become grounded, homogenized, and inward looking. With limited political vision, institutional resources, and cultural flexibility, the city and its residents might not have the compass to navigate an intensely competitive China and a connected Asia that are quite beyond their imagination. What are the future “worlding” prospects for a city if its citizens lack the confidence to move forward?

Keywords:   Rural-urban divide, China, Hong Kong, Anthropology, Social changes, Political changes, Identity formation, History, Culture, modernity

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