Hong Kong and British culture, 1945-97

By Mark Hampton

Hong Kong and British culture, 1945-97


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-1672-7
  • Pages: 248
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £18.99
  • Published Date: June 2017
  • BIC Category: HISTORY / Asia / China, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain, Humanities / Social & cultural history, Humanities / Postwar 20th century history, from c 1945 to c 2000, Humanities / Colonialism & imperialism, Modern History, History, History & Archaeology, Colonialism & imperialism
  • Series: Studies in Imperialism


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.


'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, the University of Texas

'.a well-written and original study that deserves to be widely read.'
Tanja Bueltmann, Northumbria University, The American Historical Review, Vol 122, Issue 1

'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. By exploring the complex interplay between metropolitan and colonial cultures, Hampton has not only addressed a neglected aspect of Hong Kong history, but also provided valuable insights into postwar British society and culture. [.] In short, Hampton has written a thought-provoking and hugely entertaining book, which lies at the intersection of British imperial and cultural history and Hong Kong history.'
Journal of Social History


1. Hong Kong and British culture: postwar contexts
2. The discourse of unbridled capitalism in post-war Hong Kong
3. A man's playground
4. The discourses of order and modernisation
5. Good governance
6. Chinese Britishness
7. Narratives of 1997
Epilogue: Colonial hangovers


Mark Hampton is Associate Professor of History and Director of the Centre for Cinema Studies at Lingnan University

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