Illicit markets in the global city: the cultural property trade in Hong Kong

Smith, Emiline Claudia Heleen (2019) Illicit markets in the global city: the cultural property trade in Hong Kong. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Due to Embargo and/or Third Party Copyright restrictions, this thesis is not available in this service.
Printed Thesis Information:


This thesis explores how the global city functions as a space for illicit trade, taking the illicit cultural property trade in Hong Kong as example. Hong Kong acts as a transition portal for the illicit cultural property trade due to its unique legal status and cultural history, creating a socio-political space of liminality within which the informal economy can grow and be sustained. Through in-depth engagement with ‘insiders’ of the illicit marketplace, the meanings and motivations for participation are examined on a micro-level, situated within the broader transnational cultural property trade. A key concern of this research was to excavate the local cultural and historical context in which this illicit trade is embedded and the ways in which transnational processes are experienced at a local level, as illustrated by the perspectives and narratives of participants. In this way, this research sought to advance knowledge of the intersections of legality and illegality, of formality and informality, and how the people and processes operating within these intersections facilitate and fuel illicit trade. It does this through a grounded, critical analysis of Hong Kong as a transition portal in the illicit cultural property trade, situating this role in a local and global context. The thesis therefore contributes to the growing body of research on the practicalities of transnational illicit trade. In sum, the thesis calls for a contextual understanding of a global illicit trade that is sensitive to the local, socio-cultural context of liminality and informality.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: transnational crime, illegal trade, illicit market, cultural property, antiquities, cultural criminology, global city, Hong Kong, China.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Mackenzie, Prof. Simon and Fraser, Dr. Alistair
Date of Award: 2019
Embargo Date: 14 March 2025
Depositing User: Dr Emiline C.H. Smith
Unique ID: glathesis:2019-41066
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2019 13:51
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2023 09:23
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.41066

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