Toward Cultural Policy Studies on Mobility: Reflections on a Study of the Hong Kong Working Holiday Scheme


Cultural policy is predominantly, and practically, considered the sum of a government’s activities with respect to the arts, humanities and heritage. Thus, cultural policy encompasses a much broader range of activities than was traditionally associated with an arts policy. Critical cultural policy studies, then, sees a distinction between ‘explicit’ cultural policies that are manifestly labelled as ‘cultural’, and ‘implicit’ cultural policies that are not labelled as such, but that work to shape cultural experiences. This article considers this explicit/implicit cultural policy distinction through John Urry’s idea of ‘social as mobility’, suggesting that some public policies regarding mobility (such as immigration, international trade and labour policy) have led to specific cultural consequences and therefore qualify as implicit cultural policy. Using Hong Kong’s working holiday scheme as a case study, this article explores how an economic policy on temporary immigrant labour involves a deliberate cultural agenda as well as ‘unintentional’ cultural consequences and problematises the fact that cultural policy studies are largely framed by the idea of ‘social as society’.

Full Text:



Share this article: