No heritage found on map: Hong Kong's vanishing Hakka traditions

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers

Abstract

Twenty years after its 1997 handover back to China Hong Kong remains a unique place on the world’s stage. British colonialism has left many enduring marks on Hong Kong identity as well as on its physical landscape. One of the most peculiar, and controversial, is the legacy of the Small House Policy of the New Territories; an agreement reached between the British and the village leaders after it leased the New Territories in 1898. In a city of severe land scarcity, this unusual law grants decedents of ‘original villager’s’ families (mainly Hakka people), upon their 18 birthday, rights to build a maximum three story house of no more than 2100 sqft. With skyrocketing housing prices downtown, this has created a boom of these ‘village houses’ being build and sold, mainly to ‘new villagers’ migrating from the city, on lands that once were Hong Kong’s farms and rice paddies. This has led to rapid changes in the visuality of these once traditional villages. Most notable is the disappearance of the traditional Hakka ancestral family homes.

This visual ethnographic study, now in it's final stage, began by using image-based methods to identify the tangible disappearance of Hakka visual culture in the form of derelict pre-colonial traditional homes that are dwindling in number. However, emerging themes using grounded theory that prize participants ways of knowing to guide the research have found that while the visual cultural representations of these homes and their disappearance are lamentable even more so is the decline of more intangible, yet visual, traditions of food culture and village festivals which are dying out due to the effects of migration and intergenerational stagnation. Copyright © 2023 International Visual Sociology Association.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023
Event2023 International Visual Sociology Association Conference: “Seeing Beyond Dualisms: Visual Sociology in Local and Global Contexts” - Multimedia University of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya
Duration: 27 Jun 202329 Jun 2023

Conference

Conference2023 International Visual Sociology Association Conference: “Seeing Beyond Dualisms: Visual Sociology in Local and Global Contexts”
Country/TerritoryKenya
CityNairobi
Period27/06/2329/06/23

Citation

McMaster, S. (2023, June 27–29). No heritage found on map: Hong Kong's vanishing Hakka traditions [Paper presentation]. 2023 International Visual Sociology Association Conference: “Seeing Beyond Dualisms: Visual Sociology in Local and Global Contexts”, Multimedia University of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya.

Keywords

  • Hakka
  • Visual ethnography
  • Precolonial
  • Hong Kong villages

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'No heritage found on map: Hong Kong's vanishing Hakka traditions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.