Desiring Hong Kong, Consuming South China

Transborder Cultural Politics, 1970–2010


Eric Kit-wai Ma

ISBN : 978-988-8083-46-6

Politics, Government, Public Administration Hong Kong Culture and Society

January 2012

220 pages, 6″ x 9″, 22 b&w illus.; 1 table

  • HK$160.00

Also available in Hardback HK$425.00

Desiring Hong Kong, Consuming South China is a study of the complex and changing cultural patterns in Hong Kong’s relationship with the neighbouring mainland. From interviews, TV dramas, media representations and other sources, Eric Ma traces the fading of Hong Kong’s once-influential position as a role model for less-developed mainland cities and explores changing perceptions as China grows in confidence.

The first part (Desiring Hong Kong) examines the history of cross-border relations and movements from the 1970s, focusing on Hong Kong as an object of desire for people in South China. The second part (Consuming South China) moves to the turn of the century when, despite increased communications and a ‘disappearing border’, Hong Kong is no longer a powerful role model; it nevertheless continues to be an important link in the chain of global capitalism stretching across southern China.

The book will be of interest to scholars and students in cultural studies, political science, sociology and cultural geography.

Eric Kit-wai Ma is professor of journalism and communication at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

“A brilliant study of consumer desire and cultural production in China. Whether writing about TV drama, weddings or jeans, Eric Ma combines acute analysis of changing power relations with a profound respect for people’s lived experience.” —David Hesmondhalgh, professor of media and music industries, University of Leeds

“In this imaginative volume, Eric Ma explores the dramatic changes that have transformed southern China over the past twenty years. Ranging widely across cultural sites and artifacts, Ma brilliantly captures the shifting textures of everyday lived experience among a population that was once divided by an imposing Cold War border.” —Michael Curtin, author of Playing to the World’s Biggest Audience: The Globalization of Chinese Film and TV

“In this pathbreaking book, Eric Ma portrays realities of social life and symbolic culture at the intersection of differential arcs of modernity between Hong Kong and Mainland China. His finely attuned approach follows translocal experiences from perspectives in Hong Kong and the new cities of the South to reveal how regional lifestyles transcend and challenge the reality and idea of the border. Its unprecedented focus on cultural dimensions of Hong Kong’s regional transformation makes a major contribution to contemporary scholarship.” —Carolyn Cartier, author of Globalizing South China