Negotiating Educated Subjectivity: Intern Labour and Higher Education in Hong Kong

  • Iam-chong Ip Lingnan University
Keywords: internships, cultural work, educated subject, higher education


This article examines interns’ negotiation of their work identity, with a focus on the nexus of transformations in higher education and the “new” capitalist economy. The existing literature on internships emphasizes the restructuring of employment in creative and cultural industries, the surplus cultural labour supply, and the impact of internships on the career paths of educated youth mostly in western countries. Based on interviews and participant observation in Hong Kong, I argue that the intern’s “educated subjectivity,” nurtured by new values and practices of higher education such as self-reflexive learning and interfacing with community, plays an important role in the making of the intern economy. These values and practices contribute to the ambiguity and elasticity of the role of interns identified in previous research on internships.


Author Biography

Iam-chong Ip, Lingnan University

Ip Iam Chong is an Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies at Lingnan University in Hong Kong. His research interests include urban studies, social movements, and neoliberalism in non-Western contexts.

Interrogating Internships: Internships and Higher Education