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postgraduate thesis: Let there be light : China light & power and the making of modern Hong Kong

TitleLet there be light : China light & power and the making of modern Hong Kong
Authors
Advisors
Issue Date2019
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Clifford, M. L.. (2019). Let there be light : China light & power and the making of modern Hong Kong. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.
AbstractThis thesis draws on extensive archival sources to provide the first scholarly history of electricity in Hong Kong. Focusing on China Light & Power (CLP) and its longtime chairman, Lawrence Kadoorie, the thesis examines how a more than one-hundred-fold expansion in CLP’s electricity generating capacity between 1935 and 1982 created the conditions for broader change in Hong Kong. By tracing the evolution of CLP against the backdrop of Hong Kong’s shifting relations with China and Britain through the twentieth century, the thesis provides new perspectives on the colony’s social, political, and economic transformations. Electricity was crucial to the colony’s rapid export-driven economic growth, to the emergence of civil society, to the government’s increased involvement in tackling social issues, and to the imposition of new controls on private business. Chapter One, “Private Light and Colonial Power,” outlines the thesis’s theoretical argument, using the concept of the ‘sociotechnical imaginary’ as a framework for investigating CLP’s role in shaping twentieth-century Hong Kong. Chapter Two, “In the Beginning: China Light & Power (1900-1940),” explores the first four decades of CLP’s history and of the Kadoorie family’s involvement with the company and the foundations of Hong Kong’s electric era. Chapter Three, “War, Occupation, and New Possibilities (1941-1946),” analyzes how the devastation and disruption of World War II ultimately provided fresh opportunities for CLP’s growth, with consequences for Hong Kong’s development. Chapter Four, “‘The Problem of People’ (1947-1958),” examines Hong Kong during a period when refugees contributed to a quintupling of the colony’s population, forcing a reconfiguration both of CLP and of the colonial state. Chapter Five, “Electricity as a Political Project (1959-1964),” critiques government efforts to merge and nationalize the colony’s two electricity companies. This pivotal and revealing moment in the assertion of the colonial state’s power to regulate business also marks the birth of Hong Kong’s civil society. Chapter Six, “‘Die-Hard Reactionary’ in the Expanding Colonial State (1964-1973),” investigates how CLP used new government restrictions to secure capital investment from Esso and achieve unparalleled growth and profitability. Chapter Seven, “‘Intelligent Anticipation’ for ‘1997 and All That’ (1974-1982),” considers three essays that Lawrence Kadoorie wrote in the mid-1970s, a time of intense anxiety about the price and availability of energy resources, for insight into how he understood the relationship between Hong Kong, Britain, and China and how he hoped to guide that future relationship using CLP’s investments as his instrument. Chapter Eight, “Conclusion: Sing the City Electric,” summarizes and contextualizes CLP’s role as an actor that shaped and was shaped by colonial Hong Kong’s economic, social, and political modernization.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectElectric utilities - China - Hong Kong
Dept/ProgramHistory
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/281277

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorPeckham, RS-
dc.contributor.advisorCarroll, JM-
dc.contributor.authorClifford, Mark Lambert-
dc.date.accessioned2020-03-10T08:46:27Z-
dc.date.available2020-03-10T08:46:27Z-
dc.date.issued2019-
dc.identifier.citationClifford, M. L.. (2019). Let there be light : China light & power and the making of modern Hong Kong. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/281277-
dc.description.abstractThis thesis draws on extensive archival sources to provide the first scholarly history of electricity in Hong Kong. Focusing on China Light & Power (CLP) and its longtime chairman, Lawrence Kadoorie, the thesis examines how a more than one-hundred-fold expansion in CLP’s electricity generating capacity between 1935 and 1982 created the conditions for broader change in Hong Kong. By tracing the evolution of CLP against the backdrop of Hong Kong’s shifting relations with China and Britain through the twentieth century, the thesis provides new perspectives on the colony’s social, political, and economic transformations. Electricity was crucial to the colony’s rapid export-driven economic growth, to the emergence of civil society, to the government’s increased involvement in tackling social issues, and to the imposition of new controls on private business. Chapter One, “Private Light and Colonial Power,” outlines the thesis’s theoretical argument, using the concept of the ‘sociotechnical imaginary’ as a framework for investigating CLP’s role in shaping twentieth-century Hong Kong. Chapter Two, “In the Beginning: China Light & Power (1900-1940),” explores the first four decades of CLP’s history and of the Kadoorie family’s involvement with the company and the foundations of Hong Kong’s electric era. Chapter Three, “War, Occupation, and New Possibilities (1941-1946),” analyzes how the devastation and disruption of World War II ultimately provided fresh opportunities for CLP’s growth, with consequences for Hong Kong’s development. Chapter Four, “‘The Problem of People’ (1947-1958),” examines Hong Kong during a period when refugees contributed to a quintupling of the colony’s population, forcing a reconfiguration both of CLP and of the colonial state. Chapter Five, “Electricity as a Political Project (1959-1964),” critiques government efforts to merge and nationalize the colony’s two electricity companies. This pivotal and revealing moment in the assertion of the colonial state’s power to regulate business also marks the birth of Hong Kong’s civil society. Chapter Six, “‘Die-Hard Reactionary’ in the Expanding Colonial State (1964-1973),” investigates how CLP used new government restrictions to secure capital investment from Esso and achieve unparalleled growth and profitability. Chapter Seven, “‘Intelligent Anticipation’ for ‘1997 and All That’ (1974-1982),” considers three essays that Lawrence Kadoorie wrote in the mid-1970s, a time of intense anxiety about the price and availability of energy resources, for insight into how he understood the relationship between Hong Kong, Britain, and China and how he hoped to guide that future relationship using CLP’s investments as his instrument. Chapter Eight, “Conclusion: Sing the City Electric,” summarizes and contextualizes CLP’s role as an actor that shaped and was shaped by colonial Hong Kong’s economic, social, and political modernization. -
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.-
dc.subject.lcshElectric utilities - China - Hong Kong-
dc.titleLet there be light : China light & power and the making of modern Hong Kong-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineHistory-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.date.hkucongregation2019-
dc.identifier.mmsid991044104148503414-

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