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Embattled consumptionscape of tourism: Networked urban contention against inbound tourist shoppers in Hong Kong

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Abstract

This chapter examines the emergence of urban contention against inbound tourist shoppers in the Chinese global city of Hong Kong. Drawing on netnography of citizens’ digitally enabled activities and qualitative analysis of news coverage, this chapter discusses how the local residents self-mobilised on the internet and engaged in a series of contentious activities, ranging from confronting shopping tourists, storming stores in major tourist nodes and nurturing political consumption in the communities. Moving beyond conventional protest demonstrations, the analysis of these networked acts of urban contention adds to our understanding of how bottom-up attempts are assembled with the use of mobile social media to balance neoliberal, tourist-oriented planning of urban spaces and livelihoods. With the case of Hong Kong, this chapter illustrates the impact of shopping tourism on local communities as well as the critical responses it prompts from digitally savvy urban dwellers. It informs the study of New Urban Tourism by revealing the growing tension between local communities and inbound travellers through the lens of cross-border consumption and mundane networked politics.

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