Recent experiences in civil disobedience, social antagonism and political prosecution in Hong Kong demonstrate substantially how dissent is the condition of possibility for identity-imaginary, freedom and democracy. In light of the latest trend towards authoritarian governance, we could see in the ‘failed’ resistances experienced so far by the HK people the roots of what is to come. We may re-think why people today first take dissent and now despair to be the vehicle for coping with the shifting social affectivity in a political colony locked inside a vacuum of hope.
Cultural Studies as an intellectual project is grounded in the contextual critique of power, hegemony and consensus. However, it also learns to face the dire condition of its continual work in the contemporary times. The moment is now to ponder the raison d’etre of what we do in face of the institutional paradox we live by. What indeed can one learn from the Hong Kong experience? And how can we as intellectuals and educators engage with a cultural situation edging away from trust, tolerance and credibility? Is there a pedagogy to handle dissent and despair for cultural studies?
1 Dec 2017
Whither Cultural Studies? Dissent, Despair and Pedagogy in Hong Kong