Hong Kong Nationalism and the Chinese Dream in the Age of Global Capitalism

City Inscribed event. Registration is strongly encouraged.

Scholars and pundits continue to discuss the issue of Hong Kong’s right to self-determination under Chinese rule even after the Umbrella Movement has ended. The one perspective that frames the conflicts between Hong Kong and China in nationalist terms has attracted much attention in particular. The city’s inability to implement direct election, and its various social and economic problems are seen, from this nationalist perspective, as linked to China’s intervention in Hong Kong’s internal affairs, and political independence from China is offered as a remedy. As I will explain, the source of this unfreedom is not the Chinese state alone, but an entanglement of multiple forms of power that include the state and the capitalist form of control. When a nationalist perspective ignores how generalized domination results from the integration of the state with capitalist form of power, it is inadequate. The nation that may emerge out of this perspective will subsequently remain subservient as it maintains its adherence to capitalism and continues its membership in a global capitalist system over which China exercises hegemony.

Wai Kit Choi is Associate Professor of Sociology at California State University, Los Angeles, and was a Fulbright Scholar from 2009 to 2010. His research interests are in globalization, historical sociology, and sociological theory. He has published in journals such as Journal of Historical SociologyPostcolonial Studies and Science & Society. He also has an article on Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement forthcoming in the journal Perspective on Global Development and Technology.

This seminar is organized by the Hong Kong Studies Initiative and co-sponsored by the Department of Asian Studies, the Centre for Chinese Research, the Department of HistorySt. John’s College, and the Department of Sociology.

 

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