Feeling the 2019 Hong Kong anti-ELAB movement: emotion and affect on the Lennon Walls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In this study, I discuss the affective dynamics in Hong Kong’s anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill movement through examining the emotion and affect surrounding four Lennon Walls in various parts of the city. The Lennon Walls—public spaces decorated with numerous colorful sticky notes—became a hallmark of the 2019 protests. Most of the notes were hand-written spontaneously by passers-by, who used words, phrases, emojis, sketches, and cartoons to communicate information about the protest, frame issues, stir emotions, and charge the movement with affective intensities. I argue that the walls galvanize the population to sense, feel, experience, and act in ways that foster political feelings. Combining textual analysis and ethnographic observations, I show that the walls mediate discursive emotional expressions and non-discursive affective intensities, illustrating the affective dynamics of the movement in terms of its temporality, visibility, and operationality—the concentrated formations of emotion and affect. Together, these orient and move us in social movements by allowing us to feel through our bodily reactions and affective responses and act upon these felt experiences. The walls are able to marshal the resources of the minds and bodies of those who created and sustained them and give rise to political passions and movement actions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalChinese Journal of Communication
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication

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