top of page

CONTEXTUALISED DESTRUCTION:
TACTICS OF URBAN PROTEST BETWEEN LIBERALISM AND DEMOCRACY

(Master’s thesis, defence Year: 2020)
Derived from this paper, a related article on urban transformations within social movement published on Stockholmstidningen

Focused on Hong Kong’s 2019 pro-democracy demonstrations, the paper addresses different interactions in social movements, observing urban transformations under the influence of social media and globalisation. And further, the varying representations of what is meant by ‘urban’ on social media and globalised societies within liberalism and democracy. Studying the destruction from this 2019 social movement enables a more nuanced analysis of the configuration of urban spaces within the era of telecommunications and internet revolutions.

In particular I looked to concerning on major infrastructural elements of the city, including the MTR railway system (MTR) and Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), and two resulting orders of destruction. First, the tangible damage inflicted upon the sites themselves, and its immediate consequences for the city’s productivity. Second, the more remote, but no less concrete, effect of undermining Hong Kong’s international reputation as a major business and tourism hub.

 

As strategic transport nodes, MTR and HKIA are striking stages for political action, effective at drawing the attention of Hong Kong residents. However, to fully grasp their use by protesters these spaces must be read in dialogue with the social media platforms expanding their audience. This makes evident a form of urban space irreducible to its physical, built form, but rather globally visible, mediated via rapidly advancing information and communication technologies. Critically, this same urban stratum is intimately connected to the liberal order of economic governance from which Hong Kong’s wealth derives. Thus, contextualising destruction becomes a study of contemporary urban power itself, and how it might best be leveraged to effect political change.

bottom of page