Affective Dissent in the Heart of the Capitalist Utopia: Occupy Hong Kong and the Sacred

Tremlett, Paul-François (2016). Affective Dissent in the Heart of the Capitalist Utopia: Occupy Hong Kong and the Sacred. Sociology, 50(6) pp. 1156–1169.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0038038515591943

Abstract

Hong Kong has been represented as a politically indifferent, capitalist utopia. This representation was first deployed by British colonial elites and has since been embroidered by Hong Kong’s new political masters in Beijing. Yet, on 15 October 2011, anti-capitalist activists identifying with the global Occupy movement assembled in Hong Kong Central and occupied a space under the HSBC bank. Occupy Hong Kong proved to be the longest occupation of all that was initiated by the global Occupy movement. Situated in a space notable for previously having been the haunt of Filipina domestic workers, the occupation conjured a community into the purified spaces of Hong Kong’s financial district. I describe this in terms of an eruption of the sacred that placed conventional norms of Hong Kong city life under erasure, releasing powerful emotions into spaces once thought to be immune to the ritual effervescences of the transgressive.

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