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Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholars Programme


  Gabriel Liu,

  United Kingdom/Hong Kong

  Social Anthropology, Downing College

  PhD Thesis title: "Corporate Care" in Hong Kong: Responsibility, Personhood and Subjectives.

  Research interests:
  1. Care
  2. Company
                                         3. Organizational Anthropology
                                         4. Hong Kong

Despite ubiquitous cautions against the romanticization of care, it has been argued that the ways in which we confront pressing questions of our times would be systemically different if we cease to rely on principled theories of rights and liabilities in favor of a vision that disparages the moral incompleteness of an ethic that purports to hold up claims of impartiality. Meanwhile, anthropological literature on the company has often focused on how the relationship between a range of related human and non-human actors might be mediated without necessarily backsliding into a nonchalant reflection on capitalism. Notwithstanding their respective scholarly merits, however, there has been little attempt to dovetail care with the company as an interstitial line of enquiry. Using the unexplored case of the Hong Kong company, my doctoral project asks how we might re-imagine the company through the prism of care.

Who or what inspired you to pursue your research interests?
My training in anthropology, law and development studies has given me a voice I now wish to express for meaningful change. Building on observations from my experience in the legal profession with corporate clients on the wealth of conflicting interests that animate corporate life, I became curious about the ways in which the de-personalized characterization of corporate personhood might be radically re-enacted. The point of departure is an introduction of questions of care to a space where they are often amiss. If no important question of law can be insightfully understood without an empirical component, I also wish to use my doctorate to jumpstart in Hong Kong an underdeveloped tradition that brings law and the social sciences into inter-disciplinary dialogue.