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Two years after the Umbrella Movement: Exploring the social consequences of political participation

Tuesday 22 November 2016, 6.30PM

Speaker(s): Professor Ho Sik Ying (Petula), Department of Social Work & Social Administration, The University of Hong Kong with Stevi Jackson, Centre for Women's Studies, University of York

The Umbrella Movement has had an immense impact on Hong Kong Society. The 79 days of occupation was an extremely intense experience for the protesters. For others, whether sympathetic or not, it was inescapable: it was on the news every day and disrupted the usual rhythm of life in Hong Kong, as well as the traffic. Since the end of the occupation, the campaign for democracy and associated political turmoil has continued up to and beyond the elections for the Legislative Council (LegCo) in July 2016. Political opinion in remains sharply divided, opening up deep rifts in Hong Society affecting both public and private life as we prepare for the election of the Chief Executive in March 2007. This presentation focuses on exploring both the politics of the personal and the personal consequences of politics, particularly how campaigning for democratization of society might have an impact on the democratization of family relationships. In so doing we provide a new and different lens through which to evaluate the social consequences of the umbrella movement. Drawing on interviews and focus groups with a mix of Hong Kong citizens (activists and bystanders as well as an activist theatre performance), we consider the extent to which the ideal of family harmony, which is prioritized in Chinese families, has been challenged or disrupted by this political turbulence. This will involve attending to overlooked areas of injustices in intimate relationships.

Petula, Sik Ying HO is Professor in the Department of Social Work & Social Administration at the University of Hong Kong. Her main research and teaching interests are in the area of gender and sexuality, and her current projects include using documentary films to explore the integration of arts and scholarship. Recently, she co-founded the University of democracy-to-come, Hong Kong Shield and HKU Vigilance and became an activist scholar. Her recent books in relation to the Umbrella Movements are Everyday Life in the Era of Resistance (抗命時代的日常) and The Umbrella Politics Quartet (雨傘政治四重奏).

As a social work academic, she is concerned about translating theoretical concepts into concrete social actions leading to a new concept of justice that takes into account gender and intimacy in order to focus on "overlooked injustices" in the private sphere and intimate relationships. Her work calls for the imagination of new modalities of social action beyond those that are historically recognized or culturally sanctioned as being "political" to include various forms of cultural interventions.

This talk is jointly organised by Centre for Women's Studies and Centre for Applied Human Rights.

Location: The Treehouse, Berrick Saul Building, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD