“Living in truth” vs. realpolitik: limitations and potentials of the Umbrella Movement
Po-Keung HUI and Kin-Chi LAU
Abstract This paper is concerned with the social context in which the Umbrella Movement emerged in Hong Kong in 2014. It aims to analyze its limitation and transformative potential for Hong Kong. It attempts to review the changing socio-cultural dynamics in the past few years, with a focus on the notion of realpolitik that has significantly disrupted the processes of developing a public vision of an alternative society, as well as undermined people’s mutual trust and right to non-conformity. In presenting our analysis, the authors attempt to think through the transformative potential of civil disobedience, drawing on Vaclav Havel’s notion of “living in truth,” as a long-term project aimed at changing the predominant colonial mentality and cynical culture in the contemporary Hong Kong social context.
Po-keung Hui 許寶強is an associate professor of the Cultural Studies Department and the Programme Director of the Master of Cultural Studies Programme at Lingnan University, Hong Kong. His main research interests are education and cultural studies, cultural economy and history of capitalism and markets. He has co-edited the 6 volumes of Cultural and Social Studies Translation Series,jointly published by Oxford University Press (Hong Kong) and Bianyi Chubanshe (Beijing). He is the author of Farewell Cynicism(Hong Kong Oxford University Press, 2009, 2012), and What Capitalism is Not (Hong Kong Oxford University Press, 2002, Shanghai Renmin Chu Banshe, 2007).
Dr. Kin-Chi Lau is Associate Professor teaching Cultural Studies at Lingnan University, Hong Kong. She has been involved in various global projects, and is member of the International Board of PeaceWomen Across the Globe (PWAG),Co-chair of Asian Regional Exchange for New Alternatives (ARENA), Vice-president of World Forum for Alternatives (WFA), and a Founding Member of Global University for Sustainability (Global U). She has edited/co-edited over ten books, and published in journals in over eight languages.