SOAS University of London

Centre of Taiwan Studies

Be Militant or Tolerant? Social movement repertoire and culture in Hong Kong and Taiwan

CTS - Image - Klavier Wang
Dr Klavier Wang

Date: 17 January 2018Time: 7:00 PM

Finishes: 17 January 2018Time: 9:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: KLT

Type of Event: Talk


Social movement is usually equated with violent confrontation and avid slogan chanting by people full of rage. While to certain extents, contentious activism constitutes major part of social movements, social movement broadly refers to a collectivity of social actors who demand response or change from the authority and during this process different types of meaning-bearing actions are taken. Therefore, the variety of collective organisation - mobilisation forms as well as the process that social actors vest meanings to their actions offer multi-faceted ways of social movement examination and comprehension. However, since the 1960s, the burgeoning period of social movement studies, studies on the former aspect has dominated the field. It was in the late 1980s that scholars advocated a turn “back to the culture” – not only the cultural meanings delivered through social movements, but also the fact that social movements craft its own culture. My research focus is mainly premised on this theoretical ground. 

I will first use a comparison of anti-eviction movements in Hong Kong and Taipei to examine how contentious politics could be analysed in urban studies. It fills a theoretical void in comparative social movement studies by identifying the interplay between social culture, culture of the movement field and activists’ choice of movement repertoire in specific cases. Two case studies, Choi Yuen Village in Hong Kong and the Hua Kuang community in Taipei, are closely scrutinised based on qualitative data from in-depth interviews, participant observations, and documents. Building on the tactical repertoire framework developed by Verta Taylor et al. (2009), this study incorporates current discussions of political, social, and cultural factors into the latest research on movement fields and habitus (Fligstein & McAdam, 2012; Fominaya, 2016). A ‘local movement culture’ is modeled as an interlocking set of factors that link the macro political structure and the particular set of repertoires used in specific movements. 

Second, I will further bring into discussion the development of movement repertoires in Hong Kong and Taiwan in other types of social movements, mainly educational issues and pro-democracy campaigns. Diffusion of movement strategies and improvisation are other two important concepts to analyse emergence of innovative repertoires, such as the popularity of ‘occupy’ and the making of movement icons from ordinary objects.

Keywords: Social movement, movement culture, repertoire, Hong Kong, Taiwan

Speaker Bio

Klavier Wang Jie Ying is currently a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Academy of Hong Kong Studies, the Education University of Hong Kong. She obtained her Ph.D. and M.Phil. in Communication from Hong Kong Baptist University. Before that, she studied in the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Based in Hong Kong and Taiwan, her major research area is social movement studies. Besides, a range of topics are also covered in her research including mass media studies (critical approach), popular culture studies and national identity. Her academic works have been widely presented in international academic conferences of various disciplines and have published in peer-reviewed journals (e.g. International Journal of Cultural Studies). Her monograph Hong Kong Popular Culture: Worlding Hong Kong film, popular songs and television (part of Hong Kong Studies Reader Series) is expected in late-2018. 

Organiser: SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies

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