Explaining Pathways to Party Activism: Case Studies of Hong Kong Young Adults

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 3:30 PM
Room: Booth 45
Oral Presentation
Hoi Yu NG , Social Sciences, Hong Kong Institute of Education, HONG KONG, Hong Kong
Young people in many advanced industrial countries are unwilling to join political parties. The situation in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China is even worse as it is a semi-democracy where political parties are relatively underdeveloped and legally prohibited from winning governing power through election. Despite these conditions, there are still a small number of young people choosing to join and take active part in political parties. The aim of this paper is to improve our understanding of how some young people come to get involved in political party activism. Qualitative life history interviews with 23 young active members from five major political parties in Hong Kong were carried out to explore this question. Based on a preliminary analysis of the interview data, I single out four distinct paths to party membership, namely 1) the socialization path, 2) the critical experience path, 3) the occupational path, and 4) the social network path. Informants taking the first two paths tended to initially get involved in party activism for political reasons, while those taking the last two tended to get involved for non political reasons. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings will be discussed.