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Decentering: The Rise Of Hong Kong As A Network Society

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explains the spectacular rise of Hong Kong as a dynamic node of entrepreneurial activities in the context of the collapse of the Confucian order in late imperial China. It argues that a tension exists between the cultural center and business networks in a society, and a strong center would inhibit the growth of networks. The Western impact in the late nineteen century triggered the process of ‘decentering’ in China that released the pent-up forces of innovation particularly at the periphery of the empire. In the case of Hong Kong, we come to witness the transformation of lowly merchants into glamorous entrepreneurs, wandering knights into kung fu heroes, and domesticated women into female professionals. Hong Kong constitutes a strategic case for the formation of a theory on network society as a novel phenomenon with its special problems of integration and governance.

Keywords: China; Confucian order; Hong Kong; kung fu; network society; Western impact



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