Donnerstag, 25. Oktober 2018, 17:30 - 19:00 iCal

Creating a Textual Public Space

Slogans and Texts from Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement

Guest Lecture by Prof. Sebastian VEG

SIN 1, Institut für Ostasienwissenschaften/Sinologie
Spitalgasse 2, Hof 2, Tür 2.3, 1090 Wien


Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement (Sept-Dec 2014) represented a watershed in Hong Kong's political culture and self-understanding. Based on a study of over 1000 slogans and other textual and visual material documented during the movement, this study provides an overview of claims, which are oriented towards an assertion of agency, articulated at different levels: in a universalistic mode (“democracy”), in relation with a political community (Hong Kong autonomy and decolonization) and through concrete policy aims. At the same time, slogans mobilize a diversity of cultural and historical repertoires which attest the hybrid quality of Hong Kong identity and underscore the diversity of sources of political legitimacy. Finally, it will be argued that by establishing a system of contending discourses within the occupied public spaces, the movement strived to act out a type of discursive democracy. Despite the challenges that this discursive space encountered in interacting with the authorities and the public at large, it represented an unfinished attempt to build a new civic culture among Hong Kong's younger generation.


Sebastian Veg is a Professor (directeur d’études) of intellectual history and literature of 20th century China at the School of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences (EHESS), Paris and an Honorary Professor at the University of Hong Kong. He was director of the French Centre for Research on Contemporary China (CEFC) in Hong Kong from 2011 to 2015.

His doctoral research was devoted to literary and political debates about modernism and democracy in the May Fourth era, followed by a second project on the new intellectuals in China since the 1990s. He was the co-principal investigator for a France-Hong Kong research grant on “New Approaches to the Mao Era: everyday history and popular memory,” and editor of Popular Memories of the Mao Era: From Critical Debate to Reassessing History. Most recently, he has published a series of articles on cultural and political debates in Hong Kong since the handover.


Institut für Ostasienwissenschaften/Sinologie


Eric Haase
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