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Converts to Civil Society: Christianity and Political Culture in Contemporary Hong Kong

Studies in World Christianity

This series features original scholarly works focused on particular movements, traditions, ideas or historic episodes in the development of Christianity in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Pacific, and among migrating communities from these regions. Joel Carpenter, Nagel Institute director, is series editor.


Citizens of Hong Kong enjoy abundant membership options, both social and religious, under Hong Kong’s free market culture. Whether identifying as Catholic or Protestant, or growing up in religious or secular households, Nedilsky’s interviewees share an important characteristic: a story of choosing faith. Across the spheres of family and church, as well as civic organizations and workplaces, Nedilsky shows how individuals break and forge bonds, enter and exit commitments, and transform the public ends of choice itself. From this intimate, firsthand vantage point, Converts to Civil Society reveals that people’s independent movements not only invigorate and shape religious community but also enliven a wider public life.


“Nedilsky traces individual developments over time and examines how the entrances and exits involved in religious groups build a sense of agency, adding to the sense of competence and possibility for self-rule.”

—Rhys H. Williams, Professor of Sociology, Loyola University Chicago

“Not only does Nedilsky offer a refreshing look at the role of religion in public life in Hong Kong, she also presents people’s voices and choices in the context of a society undergoing rapid changes.”

—Tai-Lok Lui, Professor of Sociology, the University of Hong Kong

"Lida Nedilsky gives us the memorable voices of Hong Kong Chinese Christians who are bravely and creatively building bridges between a Western Faith and Chinese political and social realities. With sociological insight she shows us the possibilities and perils embedded in this cultural encounter."

—Richard Madsen, Distinguished Professor of Sociology, University of California, San Diego  

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