The Nature of the Colonial State

Ma Ngok

in Political Development in Hong Kong

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print January 2007 | ISBN: 9789622098107
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882207271 | DOI:
The Nature of the Colonial State

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While the colonial state's nature may be portrayed through contrasting images, the most common of these entails how Hong Kong is perceived as a minimalist laissez-faire state. Although there may have been debates on whether the Hong Kong state was indeed non-interventionist, the political and social changes experienced since the 1980s have nonetheless proved the “minimalist state” description inadequate for studying the current situation in Hong Kong. This chapter provides a review of the state's contrasting images—the minimalist state and the interventionist state—and then discusses the various changes that initiated the changes to the state and Hong Kong's society relations. Both of these images are found to be state centered and have failed to account for the role of societal forces. As such, a corporatist image is also suggested.

Keywords: colonial state; minimalist state; interventionist state; societal forces; corporatist state; relations with society

Chapter.  6996 words. 

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