Haunted: An Ethnography of the Hollywood and Hong Kong Media Industries

Haunted: An Ethnography of the Hollywood and Hong Kong Media Industries

by Sylvia J. Martin

Paperback(New Edition)



How do media professionals handle the risks of film and television production given market uncertainties, fears of industrial decline, and increasing job insecurity? What does the work of creating spectacle on-screen amid volatile conditions off-screen mean to them? In Haunted: An Ethnography of the Hollywood and Hong Kong Media Industries, Sylvia J. Martin explores these questions about members of the highly commercial film and television industries of Hollywood and Hong Kong (the latter often referred to as the "Hollywood of the East"). Drawing on extensive multi-sited ethnographic research—including participant-observation as an extra in Hollywood and interviews with stunt workers in Hong Kong—Martin takes the readers onto studio lots and urban filming locations in Hollywood and Hong Kong to discover the haunting perils and pleasures of the filming process for media workers as they also grapple with broader social, economic, and political issues. Signaling a new turn in anthropology of media, this ethnography is not only a comparative study of the Hollywood and Hong Kong media industries but also an examination of the thematic and transnational connections between them. Through unexpected findings about engagement with religion and the supernatural in both industrial sites, Martin offers a unique perspective on risk and uncertainty for media labor and production studies.

Haunted is a volume in the ISSUES OF GLOBALIZATION: CASE STUDIES IN CONTEMPORARY ANTHROPOLOGY series, which examines the experiences of individual communities in our contemporary world. Each volume offers a brief and engaging exploration of a particular issue arising from globalization and its cultural, political, and economic effects on certain peoples or groups.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780190464462
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 09/20/2016
Series: Issues of Globalization:Case Studies in Contemporary Anthropology Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Sylvia J. Martin is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at The University of Hong Kong. Her work has been published in Visual Anthropology Review, Critical Studies in Media Communication, American Ethnologist (co-author), Society, and Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

"The End"
The Risks of Filming Death
Themes of the Book
Framing: The Multisited and Multisighted
Structure of the Book

PART 1: The Assemblages of Spectacle

Chapter 1: Contrasts, Commonalities, and Connections: Hollywood and Hong Kong
Ideological Contrasts
Industrial Overviews: Commonalities and Contrasts
Media Assemblages: Joint Productions and Collaborations

Chapter 2: The Production of Spectacle / The Spectacle of Production
The Set
"Who's the Chief?": Setwork and Authority
Spectacle and the "Cinema of Attractions"
The Reel Audience: Mediating in the Immediate
The Spectacle of Attractions: Explosions, Wizardry, and Tricks
Tensions Between Extra and Actors
Sisyphean Efforts of the Subcontractor

PART 2: Local Sets, Global Forces

Chapter 3: Gambling, Striking, and Assemblage: Hollywood on (Its) Location
Dollar Day
Standard Instability
Transnational Flows, Gender, and Race
Hong Kong in Hollywood: Media Assemblage

Chapter 4: The Death Narratives of Revitalization: Colonial Governance, China, and the Reconfiguration of the Hong Kong Film Industry
The Death Narratives
"King Kong in Hong Kong": The Specter of Return
Industrial Decline
Structural Causes of Decline
Consequences of Decline


Chapter 5: Of Ghosts and Gangsters: Capitalist Cultural Production and the Hong Kong Film Industry
The Underworlds Emerge
Performance, Payment, Possession
The Spectral in the Spectacle: Constraints and Collaborations
Gangsterism: Constraints and Collaborations
Reciprocity and (Self) Censorship of Ghosts and Gangsters
The Violence in Production: Possessive Power and Payments

Chapter 6: Affective Labor: An Intersection of Performance and Possession
Affective Labor
Laboring Between Worlds
Performance and Spirit Possession

Chapter 7: Camera/Chimera: Setwork and the Ethics of Soul Capture
A Spirited Camera: Protector or Provocateur?
"Camera Ready": Transitions and Transformations

Hong Kong

References Cited

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