Converts to Civil Society: Christianity and Political Culture in Contemporary Hong Kong

Converts to Civil Society: Christianity and Political Culture in Contemporary Hong Kong

by Lida V. Nedilsky


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Lida V. Nedilsky captures the public ramifications of a personal, Christian faith at the time of Hong Kong’s pivotal political turmoil. From 1997 to 2008, in the much-anticipated reintegration of Hong Kong into Chinese sovereignty, she conducted detailed interviews of more than fifty Hong Kong people and then followed their daily lives, documenting their involvement at the intersection of church and state.

Citizens of Hong Kong enjoy abundant membership options, both social and religious, under Hong Kong’s free market culture. Whether identifying as Catholic or Protestant, or growing up in religious or secular households, Nedilsky’s interviewees share an important characteristic: a story of choosing faith. Across the spheres of family and church, as well as civic organizations and workplaces, Nedilsky shows how individuals break and forge bonds, enter and exit commitments, and transform the public ends of choice itself. From this intimate, firsthand vantage point, Converts to Civil Society reveals that people’s independent movements not only invigorate and shape religious community but also enliven a wider public life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781481300322
Publisher: Baylor University Press
Publication date: 07/01/2014
Series: Studies in World Christianity Series
Pages: 239
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Lida V. Nedilsky is Professor of Sociology at North Park University. Ethnography enables her engagement with the world, whether as a researcher in Hong Kong or as a citizen of Chicago.

Table of Contents


1. A Question of Competence

2. Conversion to Christianity

3. Conversion to Civil Society

4. The Work of Civil Society

5. Passing the Torch

6. The Question of Convergence


What People are Saying About This

Rhys H. Williams

Nedilsky traces individual developments over time and examines how the entrances and exits involved in religious groups build a sense of agency, adding to the sense of competence and possibility for self-rule.

Richard Madsen

Lida Nedilsky gives us the memorable voices of Hong Kong Chinese Christians who are bravely and creatively building bridges between a Western Faith and Chinese political and social realities. With sociological insight she shows us the possibilities and perils embedded in this cultural encounter.

Tai-Lok Lui

Not only does Nedilsky offer a refreshing look at the role of religion in public life in Hong Kong, she also presents people’s voices and choices in the context of a society undergoing rapid changes.

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