Ghetto at the Center of the World Chungking Mansions, Hong Kong

ISBN-10: 0226510204

ISBN-13: 9780226510200

Edition: 2011

Authors: Gordon Mathews

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There is nowhere else in the world quite like Chungking Mansions, a dilapidated seventeen-story commercial and residential structure in the heart of Hong Kong's tourist district. A remarkably motley group of people call the building home; Pakistani phone stall operators, Chinese guesthouse workers, Nepalese heroin addicts, Indonesian sex workers, and traders and asylum seekers from all over Asia and Africa live and work thereeven backpacking tourists rent rooms. In short, it is possibly the most globalized spot on the planet. But as Ghetto at the Center of the Worldshows us, a trip to Chungking Mansions reveals a far less glamorous side of globalization. A world away from the gleaming headquarters of multinational corporations, Chungking Mansions is emblematic of the way globalization actually works for most of the world's people. Gordon Mathews's intimate portrayal of the building's polyethnic residents lays bare their intricate connections to the international circulation of goods, money, and ideas. We come to understand the day-to-day realities of globalization through the stories of entrepreneurs from Africa carting cell phones in their luggage to sell back home and temporary workers from South Asia struggling to earn money to bring to their families. And we see that this so-called ghettowhich inspires fear in many of Hong Kong's other residents, despite its low crime rateis not a place of darkness and desperation but a beacon of hope. Gordon Mathews's compendium of riveting stories enthralls and instructs in equal measure, making Ghetto at the Center of the Worldnot just a fascinating tour of a singular place but also a peek into the future of life on our shrinking planet.
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Book details

List price: $19.00
Copyright year: 2011
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 6/30/2011
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 256
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.792
Language: English

Gordon Mathews is professor of anthropology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is the author of Global Culture/ Individual Identity: Searching for Home in the Cultural Supermarket and What Makes Life Worth Living? How Japanese and Americans Make Sense of Their Worlds, coauthor of Hong Kong, China: Learning to Belong to a Nation, and coeditor of several books.

Prelude: A Note on Hong Kong
Place: Introducing Chungking Mansions
�Ghetto at the Center of the World�
Why Chungking Mansions Exists and Why It Matters
The Building
Owners' Association
My Own Involvement
People: Traders
Owners and Managers
Temporary Workers
Asylum Seekers
Domestic Helpers
Sex Workers
Heroin Addicts
How These Different Groups Interact
Goods: The Passage of Goods in Chungking Mansions
Selling Goods
Taking Advantage of Buyers
Copy Goods
Manufacturers and Middlemen
Tricks and Travails of a Phone Stall
Varieties of Traders
The Generation Gap among Traders
Techniques of Traders
The Lure of China
The Perils of Customs
The Significance of Goods and Traders
Laws: The Omnipresent Shadow of the Law
Conflicts Within and Beyond the Law
The Role of Police
Visas and Residence Rights
Asylum Seekers and the Law
�Real� and �Fake� Asylum Seekers
The Lives of Asylum Seekers
The Changing Treatment of Asylum Seekers
Future: Changing Imaginations of Chungking Mansions
How Chungking Mansions Transforms People
Cultural Identity
Global Significance
The Future of Chungking Mansions/The Future of the World
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