Civil society begins with citizens. It is rather common for individuals to join NGO activities or volunteer to help others because they feel that as members of this community, it is their responsibility to help solve public problems. Without fully realizing it, these individuals are enacting some of the duties of good citizenship. Often times, they are able to do so because in enacting their duties, they are protected by the civic, social and political rights granted to them by the government.
In a nutshell, citizenship begins with the delineation of a boundary that defines the citizens (external inclusion and exclusion), and involves the degree of equality enjoyed by all citizens (internal inclusion and exclusion), the entitlement to various rights and their corresponding duties, the sense of solidarity with fellow citizens, and the relationship between the citizens and their government. Irrespective of whether one approaches the concept of citizenship from a liberal or republican/communitarian tradition, there is a general understanding that the above constitutes the basic components of modern citizenship. Since there is not a comprehensive study of citizenship in Hong Kong, the present study aims to fill this void.
This research is a joint project with the Centre for Civil Society and Governance, HKU.
The major research instrument is a territory-wide door-to-door questionnaire survey of randomly selected Hong Kong residents aged 18 and above.
Updates of Research
The study will be completed in 2013. The questionnaire is being finalized in February. Pilot test will be carried out in March, and the actual survey interviews are scheduled between April and July. Preliminary findings will be available in fall this year.