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postgraduate thesis: The public engagement processes for urban development projects in Hong Kong : an exploration of a heterogeneous power network using Latour-Callon's 'translation' model of power

TitleThe public engagement processes for urban development projects in Hong Kong : an exploration of a heterogeneous power network using Latour-Callon's 'translation' model of power
Authors
Issue Date2016
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Chow, W. V. [鄒榮欣]. (2016). The public engagement processes for urban development projects in Hong Kong : an exploration of a heterogeneous power network using Latour-Callon's 'translation' model of power. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.
AbstractPublic engagement has become an integral feature of urban development projects in many parts of the world in recent years. Public engagement involves a series of mechanisms specifically set in place to allow the public at large to participate in the decision-making processes of governing bodies. In Hong Kong, the process has increasingly been applied by the government to urban development projects at the feasibility stage. The mechanisms for engaging with the public, from the type of information disseminated to the level of feedback noted down, are orchestrated by the government. Meanwhile, certain interest groups are able to exert enormous influence over aspects of a project and have the potential ability to bring proceedings to a halt. In short, the way public engagement is enacted externalises an underlying system of power. This research project aims to untangle the myriad of power relationships that play out over the course of public engagement processes and to understand how different entities navigate this power network. It focuses on examining how power is exercised during the formal engagement platform for government-funded urban development projects in Hong Kong. It borrows elements from the Latour-Callon ‘translation’ model of power to make sense of the physical arrangements of engagement events where participants meet to discuss the project, as well as the underlying processes that the public engagement team manages. In applying the ‘translation’ model, the physical engagement event is conceptualised as an ‘obligatory passage point’ within a translation process. Furthermore, the overarching process for public engagement is conceived of as multiple and overlapping series of translations. Data were collected using a mix of qualitative research methods based on ethnographic techniques, including participatory observations, ethnographic interviews, and archival document analysis. It was found that public engagement events contain ‘rules of practice’ and ‘black boxes’ that were formed as a result of successful previous translations. It was also found that aspects of the event act to automatise power by delegating the source of power onto materials, rituals, and modes of formalised technical knowledge. Thus, the public engagement process is composed of a heterogeneous power network that includes both tangible and intangible elements. The managers of public engagement processes proactively participate in this network in their quest to exert control over various aspects of it, but without gaining exclusive control over it. Moreover, any advantage they may have is not due to inherent powers they possess, but rather, may be attributed to the imbalance and disequilibrium that is in-built within the system for how public engagement mechanisms are orchestrated.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectPublic opinion - Urban development - China - Hong Kong
Dept/ProgramReal Estate and Construction
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/239974
HKU Library Item IDb5846376

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorChow, Wing-yan, Vivien-
dc.contributor.author鄒榮欣-
dc.date.accessioned2017-04-08T23:13:20Z-
dc.date.available2017-04-08T23:13:20Z-
dc.date.issued2016-
dc.identifier.citationChow, W. V. [鄒榮欣]. (2016). The public engagement processes for urban development projects in Hong Kong : an exploration of a heterogeneous power network using Latour-Callon's 'translation' model of power. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/239974-
dc.description.abstractPublic engagement has become an integral feature of urban development projects in many parts of the world in recent years. Public engagement involves a series of mechanisms specifically set in place to allow the public at large to participate in the decision-making processes of governing bodies. In Hong Kong, the process has increasingly been applied by the government to urban development projects at the feasibility stage. The mechanisms for engaging with the public, from the type of information disseminated to the level of feedback noted down, are orchestrated by the government. Meanwhile, certain interest groups are able to exert enormous influence over aspects of a project and have the potential ability to bring proceedings to a halt. In short, the way public engagement is enacted externalises an underlying system of power. This research project aims to untangle the myriad of power relationships that play out over the course of public engagement processes and to understand how different entities navigate this power network. It focuses on examining how power is exercised during the formal engagement platform for government-funded urban development projects in Hong Kong. It borrows elements from the Latour-Callon ‘translation’ model of power to make sense of the physical arrangements of engagement events where participants meet to discuss the project, as well as the underlying processes that the public engagement team manages. In applying the ‘translation’ model, the physical engagement event is conceptualised as an ‘obligatory passage point’ within a translation process. Furthermore, the overarching process for public engagement is conceived of as multiple and overlapping series of translations. Data were collected using a mix of qualitative research methods based on ethnographic techniques, including participatory observations, ethnographic interviews, and archival document analysis. It was found that public engagement events contain ‘rules of practice’ and ‘black boxes’ that were formed as a result of successful previous translations. It was also found that aspects of the event act to automatise power by delegating the source of power onto materials, rituals, and modes of formalised technical knowledge. Thus, the public engagement process is composed of a heterogeneous power network that includes both tangible and intangible elements. The managers of public engagement processes proactively participate in this network in their quest to exert control over various aspects of it, but without gaining exclusive control over it. Moreover, any advantage they may have is not due to inherent powers they possess, but rather, may be attributed to the imbalance and disequilibrium that is in-built within the system for how public engagement mechanisms are orchestrated.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.subject.lcshPublic opinion - Urban development - China - Hong Kong-
dc.titleThe public engagement processes for urban development projects in Hong Kong : an exploration of a heterogeneous power network using Latour-Callon's 'translation' model of power-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5846376-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineReal Estate and Construction-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-

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