Is ethnic cultural participation the answer?: A cultural capacity analysis

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In this paper, I interrogate a much-discussed dimension in anti-racist work today, namely the role of “cultural participation” in developing strong social capital and a resilient cultural identity for ethnic minority groups. The notion of the “right to culture,” as enshrined in international human rights frameworks such as Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, has spawned robust cultural participation research in many cities and countries around the world. In many such contexts, the research prompted has gone well beyond mere access to legitimate forms of culture to encompass the vital development of language, education, class mobility, social service provisions, and of course an appreciation of the arts. Unfortunately, in many cases, there is rarely mention of indicators that directly address the needs of ethnic and linguistic minorities. In fact, in these research studies, sub-sector participation in the arts and culture has often been ignored. To address this gap, I conducted a detailed capacity analysis that aims to pave the way for a more formal cultural indicator survey development. I argue that the capacity analysis has implications for understanding the habitus and cultural dispositions of ethnic minority communities, which in turn sheds light on whether migrant ethnic marginalization can or cannot be ameliorated by participatory practices, especially the enjoyment and creative participation in the popular arts. Copyright © 2021 Yonsei Institute for English Studies. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-33
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


Erni, J. N. (2021). Is ethnic cultural participation the answer?: A cultural capacity analysis. Situations, 14(1), 1-33.


  • Ethnic minorities
  • Right to culture
  • Cultural participation
  • Cultural infrastructure capacity
  • Hong Kong


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