Postsecondary educational expansion and social integration in Hong Kong

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This chapter discusses the social mobility and the political consequences of three education events in Hong Kong: the extension of free and compulsory schooling in 1978, the construction of universities after the Tiananmen repression amid popular unrest, and the creation of two-year degree programs after Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region. The chapter shows the repercussions of these events for civil society organizations and political parties. The chapter first reviews the historical context for state-society relations created by the current Special Administrative Region and the former British Crown Colony. It presents two alternative perspectives on the impact of higher education for civic development and social mobilization, perspectives rooted in neo-functionalist and in neo-Weberian sociologies of education. Next, the chapter discusses the actors and agents of political change in Hong Kong. Inferences are drawn about the social integration of new immigrants from Mainland China, as well as the opportunities for women and for lower-income students, based on analysis of 35 years of Hong Kong Census data (1971-2006). The chapter concludes by raising questions about the future ability of governments and parties to define the postsecondary policy agenda, an agenda that now threatens to escape from government control and become a flash-point of popular mobilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-269
Number of pages39
JournalResearch in the Sociology of Education
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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