Groundwork for Democracy? Community Abeyance and Lived Citizenship in Hong Kong

Samson Yuen, Chit Wai John Mok

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Studies on Hong Kong’s contentious politics have focused primarily on the high tides of mo-bilization. Scant attention is paid to what became of the intense mobilizations following their decline. This article spotlights the “abeyance” politics of community activism, in which activists sought to make territorial communities an arena of social and political participation in quieter times after mass mobilizations. Drawing on the concept of abeyance from political sociology, we argue that community activism served as “abeyance structures” after the mass mobilizations in the early 2010s, a major protest cycle preceding the 2019 anti-extradition movement. Based on mixed methods and original data, we argue that these abeyance structures not only allowed activists to maintain their political engagement but also gave rise to various practices of “lived citizenship” in territorial communities. These practices produced a changing sense of political subjectivity among citizens, establishing a more grounded notion of democracy that emphasizes their participation in local affairs and social entitlements. Our findings aim to enrich the literature on movement abeyance and provide a nuanced understanding of political activism in Hong Kong beyond street politics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-105
Number of pages28
JournalChina Journal
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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