State Violence, Participants' Framing, and Citizen Self-Mobilization: A Comparison of Taiwan's Sunflower Movement and Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement in 2014

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 09:15
Location: Hörsaal 27 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Yi-feng TAO, National Taiwan University, Taiwan
Why do people join spontaneous collective action in large scale? Conventional social movement theories, focusing on resource mobilization from a specific opportunity structure constructed through interaction between the state and society, cannot provide good explanations for such kind of collective action. Rational choice perspectives, emphasizing the contingency of each individual participant’s decision upon his/her perception of other’s action, have done a better job in studying large-scale citizen self-mobilization.

      This article inquires this process through a comparison of two large-scale citizen self-mobilizations in 2014 – Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement in March and Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement in September.  From a rational choice perspective, we can carefully analyze how participants’ framing of the collective action have changed during the process.  Besides the role of the Internet Communication Technology (ICT), this article argues that the way the state violence was exercised and the way the participants responded during the process has a significant effect on how participants frame the meaning of the movement.  By comparing these two cases, we find that the strength of the collective action was affected by the state capacity, the movement organization, and the perception of the society in general.