Loyalist, Dissenter and Cosmopolite : The Sociocultural Origins of a Counter-public Sphere in Colonial Hong Kong

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)374-399
Journal / PublicationChina Quarterly
Online published4 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


This paper surveys the process of discursive contestation by intellectual agents in Hong Kong that fostered a counter-public sphere in China's offshore. In the post-war era, Chinese exiled intellectuals leveraged the colony's geopolitical ambiguity and created a displaced community of loyalists/dissenters that supported independent publishing venues and engaged in the cultural front. By the 1970s, homegrown and left-wing intellectuals had constructed a hybrid identity to articulate their physical proximity to, yet social distance from, the Chinese nation-state, as well as to appropriate their sense of belonging to the city-state, through confronting social injustice. In examining periodicals and interviewing public intellectuals, I propose that this counter-public sphere was defined first by its alternative voice, which contested various official discourses, second by its multifaceted inclusiveness, which accommodated diverse worldviews and subjectivities, and third by its critical platform, which nurtured social activism in undemocratic Chinese societies. I differentiate the permissive conditions that loosened constraints on intellectual agencies from the productive conditions that account for their penetration and diffusion. Habermas's idealized public sphere framework is revisited by bringing in ideational contestation, social configuration and cultural identity.
本文審視香港在殖民時代後期,知識份子的話語爭奪歷程,是如何在中國大陸邊緣,形成一個回異的公共領域。二戰後,流亡的中國知識分子,利用該殖民地的模糊地緣政治,推動自主出版,參與文化陣線,建立一個屬於遺民和異見者的他鄉。到 1970 年代,本土和左翼知識界,建了 一種混合身份認同,以表達他們地理上比鄰,社會上卻區隔的國族身份,以介入社會不公,來反思對該城邦的歸屬感。借著審閱文化刊物和訪問公共知識份子,本文嘗試拿捏這回異的公共領域的內涵:第一,與各種官方論述相抗衡的另類聲音;第二,容納不同世界觀和主體性的多元場域;第三,在非民主的中國社會中培育行動主義的重要平臺。我嘗試將放寬知識群體約束的許可條件,與解釋其滲透力和擴散性的生產條件,區分開來。透過引入話語爭奪、社會形塑和文化認同的視角,本文重新審視哈貝馬斯理想化公共領域的框架。

Research Area(s)

  • cultural identity, discursive contestation, Hong Kong, intellectual history, public sphere, social movements, 公共领域, 文化认同, 思想史, 社会运动, 话语争夺, 香港

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