Identities of Hong Kong’s ethnic minority youth: A socioecological perspective

Miron Kumar BHOWMIK, Kerry John KENNEDY, Ming Tak HUE, Hoi Yu NG

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


Socioecological framework highlights that multiple contexts such as home, school and community shape the experiences of ethnic minorities and that interaction among them exert influence on their identity and psychosocial adjustment. Grounded in the socioecological framework this paper examines how a group of ethnic minority youth in Hong Kong develops and negotiates their identities navigating through multiple contexts. It also explores psychosocial adjustment issues they experienced during their interaction with multiple contexts. It draws on a qualitative study based on in-depth interviews with 20 ethnic minority young people from Pakistani, Indian, Nepalese, Bangladeshi and Filipino heritages living in Hong Kong. The study found that participants’ experiences at home, school and community contributed to shaping their identities. Specifically, experiences at home and within same ethnic community primarily fostered their heritage identity wherein the family members and community members facilitated their connections with heritage culture. On the other hand, rest of their living experiences in Hong Kong including schooling contributed to their Hongkongers identity. The study also found that, in the process of negotiating their identities in multiple contexts, participants faced a number of psychosocial adjustment issues stemming from acculturation challenges such as “language and communication barriers”; “racism” and “family related conflicts”. In the end the paper discusses important implications of the findings at the practice level for teachers, school guidance and counsel, and social work practitioners in order to better support ethnic minority youth in Hong Kong. Copyright © 2017 The Education University of Hong Kong.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


Bhowmik, M. K., Kennedy, K. J., Hue, M.-T., & Ng, H.-Y. (2017, November). Identities of Hong Kong’s ethnic minority youth: A socioecological perspective. Paper presented at the WERA Focal Meeting & HKERA International Conference 2017 (WERA-HKERA 2017): Innovation, Reform and Education Change in a Contemporary World, The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.


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