Young citizens in Hong Kong: Obedient, active and patriotic?

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There are multiple ways of understanding citizenship: as a status conferred by a nation state, a personal identity constructed in response to particular circumstances or a social identity developed out of group membership. These are not mutually exclusive categories: an individual may experience “citizenships” that integrate these legal, personal and social identities. Yet how do young people who are not yet citizens understand what it means to be a citizen? In the present study, 15-year-old Hong Kong students were surveyed 2 years after the transition from colonial rule to Chinese sovereignty. They were asked to respond to a series of questions about citizenship responsibilities and the way they saw these reflected in ‘good citizens’. The results showed that students viewed citizenship responsibilities as multidimensional with reference to specific groups. They identified legal obligations related to civil authorities, personal obligations to support other members of the community and patriotic obligations to support the nation-state. Copyright © 2009 Springer Science+Business Media B.V..
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-127
JournalSocial Psychology of Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010


Kennedy, K. J. (2010). Young citizens in Hong Kong: Obedient, active and patriotic? Social Psychology of Education, 13(1), 111-127.


  • Civic attitudes
  • Citizenship
  • Students
  • Hong Kong


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