Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > The umbrella revolution
View graph of relations

The umbrella revolution: investigating symbols of protest

Research output: Working paperDiscussion paper

Published
Publication date9/02/2015
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

In November 2014 I visited two sites of central Hong Kong occupied by students and Occupy Central protesters in the movement termed by them the Umbrella Revolution. The movement supported demands that election to the Legislative Council, the seat of government in Hong Kong, should include nominations from the public. The Chinese Government insisted that an approved nominating committee would appoint candidates, which could then be voted on. Yellow umbrellas became the key symbol of the resistance movement after violent confrontations with police using tear gas on September 28th. The Umbrella Revolution became a “nexus of practice” (Scollon, 2002; Norris & Jones 2005), bringing new forms of life to parts of the city, as a creative community. My approach to this research draws on Scollon’s mediated discourse analysis including viewing my encounters with the protests as sites of engagement. This requires taking into account my experience as a “historical body” of a researcher (Scollon & Scollon 2004). In my analysis, assisted by two Hong Kong experts, I draw on Triandafyllidou & Wodak’s (2003) discussion of social identity, emphasising: social relations in the course of collective definition in terms of resistance against and protest to another collectivity; crafted artefacts, and relationships of similarity and difference that are uniquely played out in the cultural identity of “Hong Kong people” (Ma & Fung, 1999). Ma, E.K.W. & Fung, A.Y.H. (1999) Re-sinicization, nationalism and the Hong Kong identity. In C.Y.K. So & J.M. Chan (eds) Press and Politics in Hong Kong – case studies from 1967 to 1997. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. pp. 497-528. Norris, S. & Jones, R.H. (eds) (2005) Discourse in Action: Introducing mediated discourse analysis. London: Routledge. Scollon, R. (2002) Mediated Discourse: The nexus of practice. London: Routledge. Scollon, R. & Scollon, S. (2004) Nexus Analysis: discourse and the emerging internet. London: Routledge. Triandafyllidou, A. & Wodak, R. (2003) Conceptual and methodological questions in the study of collective identities: An introduction. Journal of Language and Politics 2(2) 205-223.