House buying as hope mechanism : the culture of homeownership in Hong Kong

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The event contains 4 video clips. More videos available at:


Department of Cultural Studies

Document Type

Public Seminar




4:30 p.m. -- 6:00 p.m.


HSH109, Lingnan University, Hong Kong


Hong Kong, a global financial hub, is well-known for being the world's “freest” economy, and the least affordable city for housing. This presentation traces how these two elements, financialization and homeownership, were articulated jointly by the British colonial state and the local population from the 1970s to the 1990s into a cultural mechanism of hope – House Buying. It proposes that the rapid and stable financialization process of homeownership was not only a top-down imposition; it also relied on securing the consent across the population, albeit temporarily and contingently, in a unique context.

In today’s Hong Kong, the context changes dramatically. The hope mechanism of House Buying is still dominant yet mutated with a different formula. The presentation discusses how some of the young adults gain hope through “waiting for the coming crisis” (like SARS or terrorist attack) as the connection to the future. The supposedly devastating crisis is now domesticated as an excellent homeownership and real estate investment opportunity for being a “normal” part of the market economic cycle.


Chung-kin Tsang received his bachelor’s degree after graduating from the Department of Cultural Studies of Lingnan University in 2003. The experience of going through SARS and financial crisis during the school/work transition shapes his research interests on financialization, the culture of homeownership, and hope. Besides economic culture, he is also interested in popular culture and media studies, and has co-edited the essay collection Pop Hong Kong: Reading Hong Kong Popular Culture: 2000-2010 and co-authored the book TV, Film and Hong Kong Identity. He recently attained his PhD from the Department of Communication in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill under the direction of Prof. Lawrence Grossberg.



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Recommended Citation

Tsang, C. K. (2018, September). House buying as hope mechanism : The culture of homeownership in Hong Kong [Video podcast]. Retrieved from