Autonomy, Self-Governance and Social Participation: Some Patterns of Civil Society Development in Hong Kong

Hon Fai CHEN
January 2014
Journal of Youth Studies (10297847);Jan2014, Vol. 17 Issue 1, p45
Academic Journal
This article seeks to clarify the concept of civil society and analyse its developmental patterns in Hong Kong since the post-war era. On the basis of previous studies on this subject, the article demonstrates that the origin of Hong Kong civil society can be traced back to the proliferation of social movements and pressure groups in the 1970s. These civil society groups were eventually transformed into political parties or subvented social service organizations in the 1980s and 90s, with a corresponding shift in tactics from mass mobilization to institutionalized exchange with the government. The article proposes that social enterprise, if properly understood as a communitybased, participatory movement rather than a top-down project of public management, can serve to enhance the autonomy and self-governance of civil society, without thereby running into the blind alley of unyielding confrontation and social polarization.


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