Contentious Repertoires: Examining Lennon Walls in Hong Kong’s Social Unrest of 2019

Contentious Repertoires: Examining Lennon Walls in Hong Kong’s Social Unrest of 2019
Yao-Tai Li & Katherine Whitworth
Scholars have examined the mobilising roles of text and images played during social movements. Studies of the Lennon Walls in Hong Kong have also discussed how citizens expressed opinions, shared information, and mobilised support for political reform. Few studies, however, have systematically examined the content of post-it notes and images on Lennon Walls and explored how the persuasive functions of movements have been distributed across text and image. In the research reported in this article, 10,000 post-it notes and 2,076 images collected from Lennon Walls across 18 districts in Hong Kong between June 2019 and April 2020 were coded, revealing important differences not only in the discourses presented but also in the persuasive functions of text and image. This analysis provides a more robust analysis of how the Lennon Walls were shaped by Hong Kong contentious repertoires. Meanwhile, Lennon Walls also served as a site of contention bound by its own specific contentious repertoire which demonstrates the spatial practice of counter-framing. This article examines the segmentation and distribution of the movement’s persuasive functions across textual and visual means of communication, in which the legitimacy, acceptance, and diffusion of actions and claims were extensively utilised during the 2019 social unrest.

Publication date

1 Jan 2022 – 30 Nov 2022

Journal title, volume/issue number, page range

Journal of Contemporary Asia






National politics
Art and Culture