SASE Salons: How Digital Media Facilitated and Curtailed the Pro-Democracy Movement in Hong Kong

Much has been written in the past two decades about how digital media could facilitate and empower social protests, whereas more and more scholars have also noted how digital media could undermine social protests either because of problematic online phenomena or because of the state›s capability of appropriating the Internet for political control. This talk will review the experience of Hong Kong throughout the 2010s. We would first review our research on the Umbrella Movement, highlighting how digital media strengthened social mobilization, yet also introduced forces of decentralization into the movement, leading to a "tactical freeze" that hampered the movement in the end. We then review our research on Hong Kong people‹s collective remembering of the 1989 Tiananmen student movement in which digital media served not only as a channel for mobilization but also a memory archive. But at the same time, the state also perpetrated their narratives through online platforms. The result is the phenomenon of memory balkanization and polarization of attitudes toward the Tiananmen Incident. At the end, the talk will also briefly discuss the role of digital media in the 2019 Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill Movement as well as the digital media scene after the establishment of National Security Law in 2020.


Joseph Chan and Francis Lee

SASE Salons are open live exclusively to paid members of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE). To join, visit https://sase.org/join-sase/. The webinar series presents cutting-edge research from leading thinkers in anticipation of the 2022 annual SASE conference at the University of Amsterdam, ›Fractious Connections: Anarchy, Activism, Coordination, and Control‹ – 9-11 July 2022. Our aim is to spark debate, challenge assumptions, and become an essential resource for anyone interested in socio-economics and political economy.






14.06.22 09:00