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

Main Article Content

Louis Ho


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’.

Article Details

Media Mobilities and Identity in East and Southeast Asia (Peer Reviewed)
Author Biography

Louis Ho, Hong Kong Baptist University

Louis Ho is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Humanities and Creative Writing at Hong Kong Baptist University, where he also received his PhD. He was previously program leader of the Cultural Studies and Communication program and the Visual Arts program at the Community College at Lingnan University. His research interests include cultural policy studies, creative labour, museum and museology, and visual culture.