The consumption power of the politically powerless: The Yellow Economy in Hong Kong
Although the literature on political consumerism is prolific, political consumerism as a form of domestic political resistance is under-explored. The nascent ‘Yellow Economy’ in Hong Kong – in which citizens have boycotted pro-government (‘blue’) business and buycotted pro-democracy (‘yellow’) businesses – is an economic front of the pro-democracy movement that emerged in 2019. With rising political threats following the imposition of the national security law, street protests and other forms of contention politics have been stifled. The Yellow Economy, however, has become a new protest repertoire that has helped to sustain the movement. Drawing upon 26 semi-structured interviews with the Yellow Economy’s supporters from May to July 2020, as well as secondary data including newspaper articles, this article finds that a shared collective identity among pro-democracy citizens primarily gives rise to consumer activism in Hong Kong. Even though the initiative could not yield intended outcomes, i.e., resource mobilization and political opportunity expansion, pro-democracy citizens have continued engaging in political consumerism to express their solidarity. Furthermore, consumer activism and pro-democracy citizens’ identity are mutually reinforcing.
1 Jan 2022 – 30 Nov 2022
Journal title, volume/issue number, page range
Journal of Civil Society/18:1, p.69-86