University of Leicester
2020FOKYYPhD.pdf (2.34 MB)

Cultural Heritage Policy, Civil Society and Identity in Hong Kong

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posted on 2020-07-17, 11:03 authored by Yeung Fok
This thesis investigates Hong Kong’s social process of heritage in both colonial and postcolonial contexts through the analysis of the city’s cultural heritage policy between 1976 and 2018.
This research has three objectives. Firstly, this thesis explores the emergence and development of Hong Kong’s cultural heritage policy between 1976 and 2018. Secondly, it explores how different stakeholders from the local civil society have helped to establish and reshape the approach to cultural governance through various civil advocacies and heritage movements. It also identifies how heritage discourses of Hong Kong have been articulated and re-assembled alongside the city’s social process of heritage. Thirdly, it illustrates how notions of Hong Kong’s cultural and social identity have been formed and re-constructed through the rise of heritage movements and the making of local cultural heritage policy.
This thesis employs various significant events such as the enaction of the first local heritage legislation in 1976 and the movement to save the Central Star Ferry Pier in 2006 in the local history of cultural heritage policy as case studies under the analytical framework of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). Also, by conducting archival research, media research and in-depth interviews, this thesis argues that an economic-led approach to cultural heritage policy has been actively adopted in Hong Kong. However, this approach has been challenged by various stakeholders of the local civil society through the articulation of new social and cultural heritage values of Hong Kong, especially in the post-colonial period. Alongside this ever-changing process of local heritage, a cultural and social identity dilemma between localism and ‘Chineseness’ has emerged in postcolonial Hong Kong. Hong Kong is a unique example of the arrangement of ‘One Country, Two Systems’. Therefore, this thesis hopes to contribute to the growing discussion of postcolonial heritage politics in the contemporary Asian context.



Lisanne Gibson; Shelia Watson

Date of award


Author affiliation

School of Museum Studies

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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