East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society

(Oct. 21) Lida Nedilsky, “The Liberalizing Role of Hong Kong Startups in Religion and Politics”




“The Liberalizing Role of Hong Kong Startups in Religion and Politics” 

Lida Nedilsky

Professor of Sociology, North Park University



Oct. 21st, Mon 4:30-6:00 pm

Tea Room, Social Science Research Building (2nd floor).

Refreshment will be provided

Professor Nedilsky has shared the full paper (see attached) to encourage further discussion and debate.

Nedilsky, Lida – The Liberalizing Role of Hong Kong Startups in Religion and Politics

Lida Nedilsky – The Liberalizing Role of Hong Kong Startups in Religion and Politics


Since the territory’s return to Chinese sovereignty, Hong Kong’s executive branch has sought ways to control a relatively free-market society. Dispatching riot police to break up flash mobs from June through August 2019 is one vivid example. Acting as a source of consensual politics is another. In this essay I document a rival to control: the persistent presence of both religious and political startups in Hong Kong’s organizational marketplace. As vehicles of innovation, startups –those entrepreneurial efforts to respond to missed opportunities by fulfilling demands of an untapped market– ought to attract attention in a city with Hong Kong’s global reputation for business. These are the Christian nongovernmental organizations and political parties that populate its public sphere and dislodge the state-society fixity assumed necessary for efficient and stable governance. By placing Christian religious culture in the context of the wider Hong Kong culture I cast it in a new light: one that reveals how Christian entrepreneurialism, like political entrepreneurialism, performs a liberalizing role in Hong Kong.


Lida V. Nedilsky, Professor of Sociology at North Park University, focuses her research on the intersection of religious and political cultures in Chinese societies. Most recently, she collaborated with historian Joseph Tse-hei Lee of Pace University on a special issue of China Information (July 2019) exploring marginalization in China today. Along with guest-editing, they authored “Marginalization as creative endeavour,” an article spotlighting the innovative possibilities that come with existing on the margins of society –including the margins of academic community and enterprise.

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The East Asia Workshop is sponsored by the Council on Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences.




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