Hidden youth in Hong Kong : a social censure perspective


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

View graph of relations


  • Hong Yee Gloria CHAN


Awarding Institution
Award date15 Feb 2013


Purpose By deconstructing the dominant discourses on youth and uncovering youth's innersense towards censures in society, the power dynamics experienced by youth during the interactions with surveillants, as well as the underpinning meanings of their social withdrawal behaviour, this study examined the phenomenon of hidden youth using Social Censure perspective, with the integration of nine other theoretical concepts related to ideology and hegemony, power dynamics, sense of self and identity, as well as subcultural identity. Methods Exploratory investigation of news discourses were used to deconstruct the meanings of discourses and labels in Social Censure Perspective. Qualitative methods (Interview) were used to esamine the power dynamics between surveillants and youth, and uncover the innersense of surveillants' discipline and youth's behaviour. Quantitative methods (questionnaire) were used for showing the whole picture of 'hidden youth' phenomenon and reconfirming the results regarding the creation, application and consequence of social censure on youth in Hong Kong. 363 hidden youth participated in the questionnaire. 38 hidden youth and 51 surveillants were interviewed. Surveillant participants including 21 parents, 11 teachers, 16 social workers / counselors and 3 policemen.of different systems, who took part in the case study and focus groups. Results Findings supported the hypothesis that youth's becoming hidden youth was a developmental process rather than that could be sufficiently explained by separate factors. Youth's development to hidden youth could be divided into 5 stages, with significant differences in degree of impact of censure felt by youth.. The socially-created stigmatization and discipline from surveillants on 'deviant youth' enforced them to choose social withdrawal as a strategy to cope with censure. An innovative finding was the dysfunction of social censure that emerged starting from stage 3 of social withdrawal. Besides, hidden youth was not a problem, but a phenomenon, or even a form of subculture that generated the 'pull factors' encouraging youth to stay in their social withdrawal situation. Conclusions It was advocated that, services for hidden youth should not focus on 're-engaging youth into society', but rather, accelerated their development to stage 5 of social withdrawal.

    Research areas

  • Hong Kong, China, Social isolation, Attitudes, Youth