On the threshold of urban Hong Kong: Liminal territoriality in new Kowloon

Alan Smart, Wing Shing Tang

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

5 Citations (Scopus)


Liminality is the period of transition between different types of status, such as moving from childhood to adulthood or becoming part of an urban area. It is frequently seen as a period of great risk that should be handled with careful arrangements, such as periods of isolation and education often associated with initiation rituals. To be in between is to be neither/nor, a situation that is symbolically and psychologically unsettling. Liminality can also be applied to spaces, for example entrance halls or ‘mud rooms’ that are ambivalently located between public and private or between the clean interior and dirty exterior of a farm (Lawrence and Low 1990). Some institutions are constructed specifically for handling liminal situations; the immigrant-handling facilities at Ellis Island in New York are a classic example for dealing with people who were administratively not yet admitted or rejected or placed in quarantine for the screening of potentially dangerous diseases (Smart and Smart 2012). The spatial dimensions of liminality, or the liminal dimensions of space, have recently received considerable attention in a wide variety of areas including cross-border prostitution (Sacramento 2011), tourism (Andrews and Roberts 2012) and cultural performances (Broadhurst 2004).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNegotiating Territoriality
Subtitle of host publicationSpatial Dialogues Between State and Tradition
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781315813103
ISBN (Print)9780415744294
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2014

Publication series

NameRoutledge studies in anthropology

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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