Transgressive Politics in Occupy Mongkok

Samson YUEN

Research output: Book Chapters | Papers in Conference ProceedingsBook Chapter

Abstract

Most research on the Umbrella Movement treats it as a singular protest, in which the three protest camps joined in unison by similar groups of participants fighting for the same cause. The Admiralty camp, where the movement started and where most protests leaders were based, is either explicitly or implicitly regarded as the main stage as well as the defining voice of the movement. 1 By contrast, the other two camps— Causeway Bay and Mongkok— are treated as offshoots of the Admiralty camp and are often neglected by researchers. This obfuscates the differences between three protest camps in terms of the demographics of the protesters as well as their actions and political orientations. It also overlooks the contentious dynamics between the protest camps and the implications of such differences. These differences must be carefully examined in order to gain a thorough and nuanced understanding of the Umbrella Movement, and also to shed light on the increasingly decentralized, networked nature of protest mobilizations in the contemporary era, where there is rarely a unified voice.

This chapter will unravel the complexities of the Umbrella Movement by shifting the focus to the Mongkok protest camp, known here as Occupy Mongkok. Drawing data from two onsite surveys, semistructured interviews, and documentary research, this chapter argues that Occupy Mongkok was not just an extension of the Admiralty camp where the Umbrella Movement originated. Instead, Occupy Mongkok developed a movement environment and dynamics that not only distinguished it from the Admiralty camp but also challenged the city’s political culture. First, despite sharing similar demographic features with Most research on the Umbrella Movement treats it as a singular protest, in which the three protest camps joined in unison by similar groups of participants fighting for the same cause. The Admiralty camp, where the movement started and where most protests leaders were based, is either explicitly or implicitly regarded as the main stage as well as the defining voice of the movement. 1 By contrast, the other two camps— Causeway Bay and Mongkok— are treated as offshoots of the Admiralty camp and are often neglected by researchers. This obfuscates the differences between three protest camps in terms of the demographics of the protesters as well as their actions and political orientations. It also overlooks the contentious dynamics between the protest camps and the implications of such differences. These differences must be carefully examined in order to gain a thorough and nuanced understanding of the Umbrella Movement, and also to shed light on the increasingly decentralized, networked nature of protest mobilizations in the contemporary era, where there is rarely a unified voice. This chapter will unravel the complexities of the Umbrella Movement by shifting the focus to the Mongkok protest camp, known here as Occupy Mongkok. Drawing data from two onsite surveys, semistructured interviews, and documentary research, this chapter argues that Occupy Mongkok was not just an extension of the Admiralty camp where the Umbrella Movement originated. Instead, Occupy Mongkok developed a movement environment and dynamics that not only distinguished it from the Admiralty camp but also challenged the city’s political culture. First, despite sharing similar demographic features with
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTake Back Our Future : An Eventful Sociology of the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement
EditorsChing Kwan LEE, Ming SING
PublisherCornell University Press
Chapter3
Pages52-73
ISBN (Electronic)9781501740930
ISBN (Print)9781501740947
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019

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  • Cite this

    YUEN, S. (2019). Transgressive Politics in Occupy Mongkok. In C. K. LEE, & M. SING (Eds.), Take Back Our Future : An Eventful Sociology of the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement (pp. 52-73). Cornell University Press.