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Durham e-Theses
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Local culture and political socialization of Hong Kong’s Chinese language curriculum in the period of 1960s to 1997

Sharon, Shuk-kwan Leung (2006) Local culture and political socialization of Hong Kong’s Chinese language curriculum in the period of 1960s to 1997. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



Hong Kong was ruled by the British from 1842-1997. During that period, educational policy of Hong Kong differed from that in other colonial territories. The colonial government encouraged identification with the indigenous Chinese culture, particularly the values of Confucianism. One aim of this research is to explore the culture and values that were chosen by the colonial government as "legitimate knowledge". A second aim is to investigate the relationships between the promotion of the Chinese local culture and British colonial rule in Hong Kong. The methodology used in this study consists of content analysis, interview and documentary analysis to collect both primary and secondary sources of data. Hong Kong under British rule, pursued a deliberate policy of the "depoliticization" of society, both to avoid offending the Chinese government and to preserve Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity "conditions favourable to the colonial government's continued rule and the economic development of Hong Kong society. Hence, some scholars have argued that the colonial government's strategy was to depoliticize the curriculum in its educational policies. However, the present study demonstrates that politics and the Chinese Language curriculum were closely related. The Chinese Language curriculum strongly advocated Confucian values and this was in fact a tactic to achieve political socialization as well as consolidate British colonial rule over Hong Kong. The promotion of the Chinese local culture in Hong Kong was most probably a remedial measure to tackle political crisis arising from the anti-imperialist demonstrations, boycott and general strike against the British in Hong Kong in the 1920ร. Under such a cultural incorporation policy, traditional Chinese values, particularly Confucian ethics, were strongly promoted, in the hope of nurturing conservative attitudes among Hong Kong students and eliminating their radical behaviour. Such a move could not only pacify the anti-British emotions and win popular support, it could also further strengthen colonial rule without provoking political unrest. The key to British success in consolidating its rule depended heavily on its tactics of achieving "de-nationalization" (i.e. deliberately excluding the cultivation of a sense of national identity among the Chinese) through "nationalization" (i.e. cultural incorporation of Chinese culture) and made use of "de-politicization" (greatly promoting moral cultivation in the Chinese Language curriculum and discouraging people’s active participation in politics) to achieve politicization (political stability).Generally speaking, the indigenous language of a country, in addition to training students with language skills, provides students with an awareness of their national identity. In Hong Kong, by contrast, the subject of Chinese Language existed to supply students with a depoliticized and alienated vision of their national identity. As revealed by the findings in this study, the Chinese Language curriculum mainly emphasizes those values that contribute to social harmony as well as political stability, thus facilitating British colonial rule.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:2006
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 Sep 2011 09:56

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