Partner or Pariah? Building Social Capital with Clan Associations in Hong Kong’



Wong, Sam
(2007) Partner or Pariah? Building Social Capital with Clan Associations in Hong Kong’. Chinese Sociology and Anthropology, 40 (1). 54 - 71.

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Abstract

This paper questions the economic perspective of institutions and its uncritical approach to using local organisations and leaders. It argues that the instrumental approach of socially-embedded institutions for enhancing project efficiency and political legitimacy disregards the existing unequal structures of authority within communities. Drawing from Bourdieu’s notion of ‘symbolic power’, I argue that local elites make use of collective rituals and cultural symbols to legitimatise their rule. Reinvention of traditions also places the poor at a disadvantage because they lack sufficient knowledge to draw upon ‘community wisdom’ to make claims and counter-claims. The romanticisation of socially-embedded institutions also plays down the dark side. A high level of trust can reduce transparency, making nepotism possible. The livelihoods of the poor, being built upon these exploitative relationships, also hinder them from challenging the inequalities.

Item Type: Article
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2015 10:45
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2022 10:24
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/2008618