Unpacking Adaptation: The Female Inheritance Movement in Hong Kong

Mobilization,Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 421-439, October 2005

19 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2008

See all articles by Rachel E. Stern

Rachel E. Stern

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Jurisprudence & Social Policy; University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law

Abstract

In 1994, after a year of intense activism by indigenous women and their urban supporters, indigenous women in the New Territories of Hong Kong were legally allowed to inherit land for the first time. In pushing for legislative change, the female inheritance movement adopted key ideas┬┐gender equality, human rights and a critique of patriarchy - from a global vocabulary of feminism and human rights. This paper examines this rights frame to understand how, if at all, activists modified international conceptions of discrimination and rights to fit Hong Kong. Overall, the ideology was not fundamentally altered or adapted, but indigenized by local activists through the use of local symbols. More deep rooted change was not necessary for two reasons: First, in the pre-handover moment, rights arguments derived their political currency from their association with an international community. In addition, critical movement participants, here termed translators, helped encompass the indigenous women's individual kinship grievances within a broader movement based on rights.

Keywords: Rights discourse, frames, indigenization, adaptation, Hong Kong

Suggested Citation

Stern, Rachel E., Unpacking Adaptation: The Female Inheritance Movement in Hong Kong. Mobilization,Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 421-439, October 2005, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1104846

Rachel E. Stern (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Jurisprudence & Social Policy ( email )

School of Law
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-2150
United States

University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law

Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

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