Commercial aviation took shape in Hong Kong as the city developed into a powerful economy. Rather than accepting air travel as an inevitability in the era of global mobility, John Wong argues that Hong Kong’s development into a regional and global airline hub was not preordained. By underscoring the shifting process through which this hub emerged, Hong Kong Takes Flight aims to describe globalization and global networks in the making. Viewing the globalization of the city through the prism of its airline industry, Wong examines how policymakers and businesses asserted themselves against international partners and competitors in a bid to accrue socioeconomic benefits, negotiated their interests in Hong Kong’s economic success, and articulated their expressions of modernity.
Hong Kong Takes Flight successfully amalgamates aviation history with colonial and business history…Vigorously respond[s] to the call for putting the history of flight into a wider context…Deserve[s] praise for highlighting aviation’s crucial role in forging new identities amid dramatic geopolitical change.
John Wong tells a fascinating story of the metamorphosis of commercial aviation in colonial Hong Kong and how the remarkable transformation helps shed light on the intersection of changing regional politico-economic dynamics, on the one hand, and intensifying globalizing processes, on the other. While there are not a few studies with ‘Global’ and ‘Hong Kong’ in their titles, as far as I am aware Wong’s is the first serious scholarly study that explicitly connects these two lines of inquiry. What distinguishes Wong’s study is his deft use of a variety of archives [and his] uncanny ability to weave together many seldom-told stories based on disparate archival materials.
Hong Kong’s development from major seaport to global aviation hub was not predetermined. The city’s newly autonomous colonial administrators and its famed corporate agility leveraged contingent historical and geopolitical circumstances to make it. Wong reveals with clarity and detail how Hong Kong was not only made into a global aviation hub, but also how that hub remade identities and interests in the city.
A fascinating story of the metamorphosis of commercial aviation in colonial Hong Kong and a timely reminder that Hong Kong as a global hub was made, not born.
- 360 pages
- 6 x 9 inches
- Harvard University Asia Center
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