A disco bar and a factory : the reconstruction of everyday life in post-socialist China

Streaming Media


Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, Lingnan University

Document Type

Public Seminar




5:30 p.m. -- 7:30 p.m.


201, General Education Building, Lingnan University


This is an ethnographic study of the workers in a factory and a disco bar in South China . The members of the research team served as workers and waiters in a factory and a bar for 4 weeks respectively and interviewed networks of informants for another 6 months. The presentation will include tales of workers, bar tenders, disco dancers, bar regulars, and big bosses. The paper traces how rural migrants re-construct their life trajectories, discipline their everyday routine, re-channel their desires of intimacy, fashion up their rural-turn-urban bodies, and learn to live a work-and-spend lifestyle in the compressed version of 'Chinese' modernity. The factory is a fordist site of buying and selling labor, while the disco bar is a post-fordist site of buying and selling emotional works. As the interface between Hong Kong 's high modernity and China 's developing modernity, both sites are filled with micro life stories which are embodiments of the macro repositioning of Hong Kong , China and the global market.



Additional Information


Eric Kit-wai MA is Head and Associate Professor of the Communication Division in the Graduate School at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is the author of seven books on the popular culture of Hong Kong, most recently in English, Culture, Politics and Television in Hong Kong (Routledge 1999), and in Chinese, two books on Hong Kong's alternative music scene.

Cultural Magazine Series, 2003-04, 1st semester, chapter 2

The public seminar was part of the Cultural Studies Seminar Series, an ongoing series of informal talks, jointly organized by the Department of Cultural Studies and Kwan Fong Cultural Research and Development Programme (KFCRD), Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, in which researchers in dialogue with leading cultural critics, designers, producers and entrepreneurs working in and around Hong Kong. Aimed at an undergraduate audience, the Seminar used a “chat show” format to encourage students to join in the discussion of new cultural research and development projects.

Recommended Citation

Ma, K. W. E. (2003, November 3). A disco bar and a factory: The reconstruction of everyday life in post-socialist China [Video podcast]. Retrieved from http://commons.ln.edu.hk/videos/215