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Take Back Our FutureAn Eventful Sociology of the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement$
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Ching Kwan Lee and Ming Sing

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781501740916

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501740916.001.0001

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The Spectrum of Frames and Disputes in the Umbrella Movement

The Spectrum of Frames and Disputes in the Umbrella Movement

(p.74) 4 The Spectrum of Frames and Disputes in the Umbrella Movement
Take Back Our Future

Wing Sang Law

Cornell University Press

This chapter highlights the importance of how the key campaign groups of the Umbrella Movement contested each other through their efforts of “framing” the movement in different ways so as to realize their competing visions of social mobilization. The Umbrella Movement was basically not a battleground between old and new conceptions of identity; rather, the subject matter was, throughout the process, democratic reform. Having said that, no one can take the Umbrella Movement out of the bigger context of ideological contestation happening over the years and how these contestations affected the prodemocracy cause. The Umbrella Movement was indeed overshadowed by an intense struggle for symbolic power, which might not help to organize the movement in a conventional sense. In other words, underneath the common quest for genuine direct election, a battle of anti-elitism was played out according to the populist logic that allowed its adherents to always play taboo breakers, going against political correctness. Disputes over framing and strategies went hand-in-hand with a subterranean campaign against the elites alleged to be gaining personal benefits by being part of the social movement industry or political establishment. The elites were reframed to be worse enemies than the regime in power instead of someone holding different judgments about tactics and action choices. Such an anti-elitist battle deepened the “culture of distrust” in Hong Kong.

Keywords:   Umbrella Movement, social mobilization, democratic reform, prodemocracy, symbolic power, anti-elitism, social movement industry, political establishment, Hong Kong

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