Being water: protest zines and the politics of care in Hong Kong

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During the 2019 Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill (Anti-ELAB) protest, Hong Kong protesters invented, adapted, and deployed a variety of decentralized grassroots tactics of resistance. While understudied, the proliferation of protest zines during the Anti-ELAB movement contributed to an affective community among movement supporters and protesters, allowing them to engage in self- and communal care as they resisted state violence. We argue that protest zines foregrounded a grassroots community of care that encourages political change in the following ways: expand the emotional habitus among protesters and movement supporters to accommodate debilitating bad feelings; promote self-care and embodied emotional reflection as a form of resistance against state violence; contribute to voluntary kinship among protesters beyond the state-sanctioned nuclear family model; and articulate nuclear familial relations as a site of political resistance. By examining how protest zines articulate voluntary kinship among movement supporters, we illustrate how the zines challenge dominant paternalistic institutions to reimagine a more open political future.




Yam, S. yin S., & Ma, C. (2023). Being water: protest zines and the politics of care in Hong Kong. Cultural Studies.

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