Hong Kong and British Culture, 1945-97


Mark Hampton

ISBN : 978-988-8876-79-2

History / Asian Studies / Hong Kong

September 2024

256 pages, 6″ x 9″, 11 b&w illus.

For sale only in Asia with new Preface for HKUP edition

  • HK$200.00

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This book examines the British cultural engagement with Hong Kong in the second half of the twentieth century. It shows how the territory fit unusually within Britain’s decolonisation narratives and served as an occasional foil for examining Britain’s own culture during a period of perceived stagnation and decline. Drawing on a wide range of archival and published primary sources, Hong Kong and British Culture, 1945–97 investigates such themes as Hong Kong as a site of unrestrained capitalism, modernisation, and good government, as well as an arena of male social and sexual opportunity. It also examines the ways in which Hong Kong Chinese embraced British culture, and the competing predictions that British observers made concerning the colony’s return to Chinese sovereignty. An epilogue considers the enduring legacy of British colonialism. 

Mark Hampton is associate professor of history at Lingnan University.

“A richly detailed study of Britain's cultural engagement with one of its most successful if under-studied colonies, Hampton does a wonderful job of showing us how Britain imagined Hong Kong and its people, how Britons actually lived in the colony and how locals regarded the British presence in an era of decolonisation. Hampton plumbs a wide array of materials to furnish us with this invigorating and original, as well as immensely readable, study.”

Philippa Levine, University of Texas

Hong Kong and British Culture, 1945-97 is a meticulously researched book. Hampton marshals a wide array of sources – official documents, journalistic and academic accounts, and popular discourse – to reveal how the Britishness of Hong Kong was understood and interpreted in post-war Britain and in the colony itself. It is a pioneering work in both Hong Kong history and British cultural history: this is the first work that draws us to the importance of thinking about Britain’s cultural engagement with the city.”

Vivian Kong, author of Multiracial Britishness: Global Networks in Hong Kong, 1910-45

“Highly illuminating and meticulously researched, the book shows that British commentators were either fascinated with Hong Kong's transformation from a "barren rock" into a dynamic city, or critical of Hong Kong's money-making and non-white character.”

Chi-kwan Mark, Journal of Social History