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Article: Shanzheng (善政) and gongde (公德): moral regulation and narratives of ‘good government’ in colonial Hong Kong

TitleShanzheng (善政) and gongde (公德): moral regulation and narratives of ‘good government’ in colonial Hong Kong
Authors
KeywordsColonialism
Governmentality
Scale
Moral regulation
Public health
Corruption
Narratives
Urban space
Hong Kong
China
Issue Date2013
PublisherAcademic Press. The Journal's web site is located at http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jhg
Citation
Journal of Historical Geography, 2013 How to Cite?
AbstractWhile ‘good government’ has long been hailed as a defining feature of colonial Hong Kong, this paper argues that it should be seen as an epistemological ordering frame whose existence relied upon constant processes of moralization undertaken by many actors across multiple scales. Central to this was the invocation of certain ways of thinking about the roles of government and citizens implicit in Chinese historical experience. These moral constructs, transplanted and transformed within the colonial milieu, became central elements in the way many British officials and Chinese residents came to express themselves, and by doing so constituted themselves as governing subjects upholding colonial rule. To explore the role of these constructs in particular situated practices and broader strategies of colonial governance, this paper focuses on two case studies concerning the improvement of public health amidst growing threats of epidemics between 1900 and 1908. Although these efforts were not successful in containing the spread of diseases, the emphasis on self-help and revival of ‘local traditions’ for encouraging people to improve their neighborhoods helped engender a sense of pride and solidarity amongst the Chinese residents and propagated the idea that Hong Kong was an orderly, ‘civilized’ Chinese society superior to that of mainland China itself. Although both case studies are drawn from particular sites, it is clear that the initiation, implementation and effects of the projects were not confined to the local scale, but were tied to larger shifts in the forms of governance and emerging political discourses beyond Hong Kong. They thus highlight the ‘networks of multiple scales’ and the translocal processes through which competing conceptions of Hong Kong and its relations to the world were actively being constructed by different actors under colonial rule.
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/182383
ISSN
2015 Impact Factor: 0.701
2015 SCImago Journal Rankings: 0.471
ISI Accession Number ID

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorChu, CL-
dc.date.accessioned2013-04-24T09:26:14Z-
dc.date.available2013-04-24T09:26:14Z-
dc.date.issued2013-
dc.identifier.citationJournal of Historical Geography, 2013-
dc.identifier.issn0305-7488-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/182383-
dc.description.abstractWhile ‘good government’ has long been hailed as a defining feature of colonial Hong Kong, this paper argues that it should be seen as an epistemological ordering frame whose existence relied upon constant processes of moralization undertaken by many actors across multiple scales. Central to this was the invocation of certain ways of thinking about the roles of government and citizens implicit in Chinese historical experience. These moral constructs, transplanted and transformed within the colonial milieu, became central elements in the way many British officials and Chinese residents came to express themselves, and by doing so constituted themselves as governing subjects upholding colonial rule. To explore the role of these constructs in particular situated practices and broader strategies of colonial governance, this paper focuses on two case studies concerning the improvement of public health amidst growing threats of epidemics between 1900 and 1908. Although these efforts were not successful in containing the spread of diseases, the emphasis on self-help and revival of ‘local traditions’ for encouraging people to improve their neighborhoods helped engender a sense of pride and solidarity amongst the Chinese residents and propagated the idea that Hong Kong was an orderly, ‘civilized’ Chinese society superior to that of mainland China itself. Although both case studies are drawn from particular sites, it is clear that the initiation, implementation and effects of the projects were not confined to the local scale, but were tied to larger shifts in the forms of governance and emerging political discourses beyond Hong Kong. They thus highlight the ‘networks of multiple scales’ and the translocal processes through which competing conceptions of Hong Kong and its relations to the world were actively being constructed by different actors under colonial rule.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherAcademic Press. The Journal's web site is located at http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jhg-
dc.relation.ispartofJournal of Historical Geography-
dc.rightsNOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Historical Geography. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Historical Geography, Vol. 42, 2013. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhg.2013.02.00210.1016/j.jhg.2013.02.002-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.subjectColonialism-
dc.subjectGovernmentality-
dc.subjectScale-
dc.subjectMoral regulation-
dc.subjectPublic health-
dc.subjectCorruption-
dc.subjectNarratives-
dc.subjectUrban space-
dc.subjectHong Kong-
dc.subjectChina-
dc.titleShanzheng (善政) and gongde (公德): moral regulation and narratives of ‘good government’ in colonial Hong Kongen_US
dc.typeArticleen_US
dc.identifier.emailChu, CL: clchu@hku.hk-
dc.description.naturepostprint-
dc.identifier.doi10.1016/j.jhg.2013.02.002-
dc.identifier.hkuros214211-
dc.identifier.isiWOS:000328307500016-
dc.publisher.placeUnited Kingdom-

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