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HKU-CUHK joint sociological forum series: Whiteness out of place – White parents’ encounters with local Chinese schooling in post-colonial Hong Kong

By Julian M. Groves, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Wed 20 Feb 2019
1:00 - 2:15 pm


Room 929, 9/F, The Jockey Club Tower, HKU

We look at constructs of whiteness in Hong Kong through an examination of the experiences of a small, but increasingly visible, cohort of “white” parents who choose to enrol their children in local Chinese medium of instruction schools. Using an anthropological framework developed by Mary Douglas, we show how these migrants are challenged by recurring obstacles that highlight their whiteness and signal them as ‘matter out of place’ in the sense that they have violated conventional expectations of whiteness. We use this data to ask: Can we talk about whiteness outside of the conventional framework of privilege? And how are constructs of whiteness regulated and maintained in post-colonial societies?

Julian M. Groves is an Associate Professor of Social Science Education in the Division of Social Science at HKUST. Originally from the UK, he has a Doctorate degree in sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the US.

He has taught at HKUST for 20 years and is a locally-based fieldworker writing on migrant domestic workers, non-engaged youth, education, gender, and social work practice. His work appears in international journals such as Sociology, The Sociological Review and The Journal of Sociology. He is currently President of the Hong Kong Sociological Association.

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