Ethnic Minority Youth as Digital Cultural Participants: Toward a Critical Indicator Study

John Nguyet Erni*, Nick Yin Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Theories of cultural planning and sustainability highlight cultural capacity building as the fourth pillar of sustainability, alongside social, economic, and environmental aims, and integration as a new framework for combining these four pillars. Seeing cultural participation as the core of the complex puzzle, we regard the digitization of art and media as an engine for changing the dynamics of participatory culture. Further, digitization rearticulates the power relations between cultural infrastructures (production) and cultural access and participation (consumption). This chapter examines the dynamics of online digital cultural participation by ethnic minority (EM) youth in Hong Kong. By analyzing a questionnaire survey data set of EM youth in Hong Kong (N = 561), we demonstrate the various capacities and aspirations of cultural activities online among ethnic minority youth. The data were collected via local community networks of social workers and social enterprises. The sample covers diverse ethnic minority groups in Hong Kong, such as Indonesians, Filipinos, Indians, Pakistanis, Nepalese, and others. A typology of digital cultural capacity will be attempted using a descriptive analysis to show the EM youth’s access and participation in cultural, arts, and leisure activities on the Internet, controlled by demographic background variables such as gender, age, and class. Our core argument is that baseline digital capacity established above is complicated by EM youth’s Community Capacity, i.e. education/information attainment; capacity of engaging social agencies that hold power; Social Capital, i.e. resources and networks embodied in life domains such as school, family, friendship, work, and ethnic community cohesion; and Cultural Identity, i.e. self-recognition/respect and intra- and inter-ethnic identity negotiation and development. Our discussion, with these tiers of indicators, provides critical insights into EM youth’s participation in online cultural activities and the barriers to their inter-cultural integration.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew Media Spectacles and Multimodal Creativity in a Globalised Asia
Subtitle of host publicationArt, Design and Activism in the Digital Humanities Landscape
EditorsSunny Sui-kwong Lam
PublisherSpringer Singapore
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9789811573415
ISBN (Print)9789811573408, 9789811573439
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2020

Publication series

NameDigital Culture and Humanities
ISSN (Print)2520-8640
ISSN (Electronic)2520-8659

User-Defined Keywords

  • Ethnic minority youth
  • Cultural participation
  • Digital capacity
  • Community capacity
  • Social capital
  • Cultural identity


Dive into the research topics of 'Ethnic Minority Youth as Digital Cultural Participants: Toward a Critical Indicator Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this