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Karen Zhang

Performative Visual Protest on Twitter: The Case of Hong Kong


On June 9, 2019, more than one million people took to the streets of Hong Kong to march in protest of the Extradition Bill. A few days later, upon Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s vow to push the bill forward, protests ramped up and riot police were deployed to control the crowds. Despite the eventual suspension of the bill, the people of Hong Kong, fueled by anti-Beijing sentiments, have charged full sprint into a bid for democracy. Months later, there are no signs of stopping. This paper will analyze in a broader sense how social movements are visually constructed on social media through performance, and in particular turn the focus onto the performative visual strategies employed by the Hong Kong protestors to frame narrative, and negotiate identity towards their intended audience on Twitter. On wide this thesis argues for an approach to analyzing social media protest through its performative visual constructions and rituals.


Sector C

Advisors: Avery Johnson (FNAR), Roopa Vasudevan (COMM)