Accepted Paper:

Studying cross-cultural migration of goods as a historical event: some reflections on the case of Yaohan's venture into Hong Kong  

Author:

Heung-wah Wong (The University of Hong Kong)

Paper short abstract:

This paper is to examine the cultural interactions between Japan and Hong Kong in terms of the cross-cultural migration of goods through the study of the venture of a Japanese supermarket chain, Yaohan, into Hong Kong and mainland China in the 1980s and 1990s as a historical event.

Paper long abstract:

This paper is to examine the cultural interactions between Japan and Hong Kong in terms of the cross-cultural migration of goods through the study of the venture of a Japanese supermarket chain, Yaohan into Hong Kong and Mainland China in the 1980s and 1990s as a historical event. Many previous studies tended to understand the social effect of such migrations either as homogenization or creolization. The homogenization paradigm, however, is running into some serious difficulties raised by many other studies of the proliferation of Japanese popular culture, one of which was the lack of explicit homogenizing force. The creolisation paradigm is also not without problems. One major problem is its ignorance of foreign cultural goods' own force, shape, and causes, which can make a difference to the social effect of their cross-cultural migrations. For the social effect of cross-cultural migrations of cultural goods is the result of the mediation between foreign cultural goods and the local socio-cultural order. The actual social consequences of cross-migration of goods are far more complex, rich and contingent than the two general paradigms are meant to represent. In order to capture the complexities, richness, and contingencies involved in the reciprocal mediations between foreign cultural goods and local socio-cultural order, I would like to propose that cross-cultural migrations of cultural goods be understood as what Sahlins called historical events because doing so can enable us to study cross-cultural migrations of goods as social processes and understand the historical consequences of such migrations as contingent.

Panel P115
The perspective of glocalization: addressing the changing society and culture under globalization