How the “Commercialized Performance of Affiliative Race and Ethnicity” Disrupts Ethnoracial Hierarchy: Boundary Processes of Customers’ Encounter with South Asian Waitpersons in Hong Kong’s Restaurants

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1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This study analyzes how the “commercialized performance of affiliative race and ethnicity” (CPOARAE) generates boundary processes that disrupt established ethnoracial hierarchies. The CPOARAE involves three parties: managers of a service workplace, workers lowly positioned in the ethnoracial hierarchy, and ethnoracial majority customers. The managers hire workers to carry out affiliative racial and/or ethnic performance to make customers feel that they are being served by workers who belong to highly positioned ethnoracial groups. I analyze the symbolic boundary disorientations of Han-Chinese Hongkonger customers, which result from customers’ confrontation with ethnoracial ambiguity during CPOARAEs. These boundary processes show that despite being a capitalistic product and a popular cultural practice, CPOARAEs have the potential to disrupt and remake ethnoracial hierarchy. This study’s data are primarily collected from multiple in-depth interviews with 24 customers and participant observation in several restaurants, and secondarily from interviews with managers and workers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-350
Number of pages18
JournalSociology
Volume56
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • affiliative ethnic identity
  • boundary processes
  • ethnoracial
  • global sociology of race and ethnicity
  • multiscalarity
  • performing race
  • racial fluidity

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