National Identity, Framing Process and Student Movements: The Case of Hong Kong from 1960s to 2010s


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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Awarding Institution
  • Fen LIN (Supervisor)
  • Chin Chuan LEE (Co-supervisor)
Award date25 Mar 2020


In the history of Hong Kong student activism, national identity has been serving as the movements’ incentives, framing strategies, and/or outcomes. This study examines how national identity has been constructed and reconstructed during a series of changes in social and political structure, and the role it has played in Hong Kong student movements in the past sixty years. Abandoning the static civic-ethnic dichotomy on national identity, I adopt the boundary mechanisms and symbolic resources theoretical framework, which views national identity as a variable that combines the two, contingent upon the nature of the issue and the situational context. With a comparison of cases across different decades, especially the Making Chinese an Official Language Movement and the Anti-MNE Movement, this study analyses three social processes: (1) the construction, reconstruction, and deconstruction of Chinese identity and Hong Kong identity in and through student movements; (2) the micro-interactive process of strategically framing national identity to mobilize students’ participation; and (3) the macro-historical changes in political, economic, and media structures and their influence on the resonance of national identity frames. I adopt multiple research methods, including field observation, in-depth interviews, case studies, and discourse analysis. I hope this study will contribute to research on identity–movement interactions and also shed light on further discussions of the post-colonial identity landscape in Hong Kong.

    Research areas

  • national identity, Nationalism, framing, student movement, Hong Kong