En fuldkommenhed i forskellighed
Starbucks Coffee og yumcha: Konsumption, identitet og globalisering - mellem opfattelser af det vestlige og det kinesiske blandt Hong Kongs yngre universitetsuddannede

En fuldkommenhed i forskellighed: Starbucks Coffee og yumcha: Konsumption, identitet og globalisering - mellem opfattelser af det vestlige og det kinesiske blandt Hong Kongs yngre universitetsuddannede Nielsen, Kasper Tang DK 358 K

On the 1 July 1997, political control over Hong Kong was passed from Great Britain to China. During 150 years of colonial rule Hong Kong has thus existed between a Western colonial power and a Chinese motherland. In this position Hong Kong has developed into one of the world's most significant metropolises for which reason the cultural setting of the city is extremely diverse. Many different global flows of goods, information, images, people etc. constitute the metropolis' complex and multifarious reality in which the Hong Kong People live out their lives. This thesis asks how younger university-educated people in Hong Kong construct their identities in such diversity.

In contrast to other studies on Hong Kong's younger university-educated people this thesis explores their construction of identities from a practice-oriented approach rather than through the use of narratives and interviews. Since language doesn't reflect the world, because many cultural activities remain silent, it is fundamental that anthropological studies continue to focus on people's practices in their everyday lives. Therefore, the thesis analyses the younger university-educated people's construction of identities in relation to their consumption of food and drink. Several anthropological studies point out how people objectify and create their identities through their consumption practices, which also constitute a central theme in this thesis.

Starting from an introduction of globalisation, identity and consumption as analytical concepts and of Hong Kong as an ethnographic region (chap. 1) the thesis presents an empirical description of two diverse consumption practices; Starbucks Coffee and yumcha. Although the activities are very different in the products consumed (coffee versus tea), the interior of the restaurants, the atmosphere, meanings and actions involved in the practices, the informants enjoy the consumption at both Starbucks Coffee and at yumcha (chap. 2). With the informants own categories their consumption at Starbucks Coffee and at yumcha constitute a Western and a Chinese activity respectively for which reason Starbucks Coffee and yumcha represent Hong Kong's diversity. Based on a discussion of the meanings of Westernness and Chineseness the thesis argues that the informants in their consumption practices objectify and act out these meanings. In this way they are constructing different components of their identity in the activities, and precisely because the heterogeneous practices relate to different parts of the informants identities the thesis argues that the informants are reaching their completeness through diversity (chap. 3). In the final chapter of the thesis this completeness through diversity is discussed in relation to overall arguments about the notion of home in a globalised world. Again the thesis points out that the informants are at home in Hong Kong's complexity and heterogeneity, because they are fundamentally constituted by diversity. This argument is contrary to certain other studies on Hong Kong and different studies on globalisation, which argue that an existential conflict and tension exist in many people's lives because of the opposition between the global and the local and in Hong Kong between Westerness and Chineseness. In the informants' everyday practices no such conflict exists, which the thesis discusses with specific reference to a difference between people's 'spoken reality' and 'practiced reality'. In this connection a critique of many studies' use of the concept of globalisation is also presented (chap. 4).

Overall the thesis thus deals with consumption, identity and globalisation in the complex and heterogeneous context of Hong Kong.