Forum Comments

Theng et al.: Who is included in ‘Together’? Conflicting Senses of Responsibility in the Hong Kong COVID-19 Landscapes
In Welcome to the Forum
Vincent Wai Sum Tse
Jun 16, 2021
Who is included in ‘Together’? Conflicting Senses of Responsibility in the Hong Kong COVID-19 Landscapes Andre Joseph Theng, Vincent Wai Sum Tse & Jasper Zhao Zhen Wu Immediately prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Hong Kong, the city had been embroiled in an extended period of civic unrest which began as opposition to an extradition bill but which later grew into a larger sociopolitical movement. In this paper, we consider the relationship between ongoing political sentiments and the COVID-19 pandemic as evident through public signs. In particular, we focus on the concept of responsibility and suggest three types of responsibility proposed by different social actors in the city; (1) an institutional sense of civic responsibility largely as proposed by official discourse, (2) a commercial sense of responsibility as proposed by large chain stores and (3) a grassroots sense of community evident from small neighborhood shops and community spaces. While there can be found points of alignment in these discourses, we suggest that the political unrest has resulted in fractures in the way responsibility is construed, resulting in disalignment and differing indexicalities arising from the various social actors who have emplaced the signs. Through a multimodal discourse analysis on a corpus of public signs, our paper contributes a multilingual perspective to research on COVID-19 landscapes, as we discuss how stereotypical ideas of communality in Chinese culture are in fact complex and multivalent resources employed towards political stance-taking.
0
0
 
Vincent Wai Sum Tse
More actions