Date of Graduation

Spring 5-18-2018

Document Type

Project/Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Asia Pacific Studies (MAPS)

College/School

College of Arts and Sciences

Department/Program

Asia Pacific Studies

First Advisor

Brian Komei Dempster

Second Advisor

Stanley Kwong

Abstract

Lately, new trends have appeared in the spending habits of Chinese elites, which include money spent on etiquette classes, butler service, British afternoon tea, debutante balls, education in boarding schools, and immigration to Britain. These new consumption patterns of Chinese elites signify their desire and attempt to adopt the British aristocratic lifestyle portrayed in popular TV series, classical novels and mass media. This study examines anthropological research, documentary videos, news reports and interviews with Chinese elites and applies Bourdieu’s theory of habitus as the main analytical tool in order to explain this phenomenon. Considering that forty years ago all Chinese people were at a similar class status—meaning that everybody came from the same or at least a very similar habitus—this research argues that the richest people in China are trying to create a new habitus: the aristocratic class. Furthermore, immigration to Britain, as a variation of lifestyle migration, and education in British boarding schools, can be regarded as pathways to this new habitus. This study attempts to answer whether it is possible to convert financial capital into social and cultural capital, and what implications these issues have on local and global scales. This research builds a foundation for further discussion about creating a new habitus in a very globalized and interactive world, which provides abundant opportunities to experiment with self-identity.

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