Loughborough University
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Constructing Hong Kong identity: political contestations and press mediations

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posted on 2010-12-23, 15:17 authored by Mengmeng Zhang
This research investigates the discursive construction of Hong Kong identity in mediated political communication, in order to understand the relationship between media discourse and the political economy of the media in Hong Kong, as well as the political and economic context in Hong Kong, and thereby reveal the dynamic of the involvement of the media in the politics of Hong Kong identity. It is argued that the Hong Kong identity has changed substantially over the past few decades, and that these changes have been shaped by broader political changes, economic developments and cultural shifts, all of which have been filtered through the Hong Kong media system. To demonstrate this, the thesis employs a novel combination of textual and contextual analysis, drawing on analytical techniques and concepts from corpus linguistics, critical discourse analysis, the political economy of the media, and sociological theories of identity. To be able to assess the relative role of the media system factors and the broader contextual elements in shaping the mediated representations of Hong Kong, the research encompasses two case studies, one focusing on the media coverage of the 2004 interpretation of the Basic Law regarding universal suffrage, the other on the coverage of the Chief Executive Election in 2005. The analysis reveals that the mediated construction of Hong Kong identity is closely related to the political economy of individual newspapers the newspaper type, its readership, ownership, political affiliation and commercial orientation. The comparison between the two case studies also shows that the media representations of identity are also inflected by the characteristics of the broader society of Hong Kong, its politics and economy at the chosen points of time. The results of the study contribute to a better understanding of Hong Kong, its identity, political culture, and its media system. These results also suggest that the analytical approach used, based on a parallel examination of the political economy of the media and the discursive constructions of identity in the media, has a lot to offer and could be fruitfully applied to other cases around the world.



  • Social Sciences


  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies


© Zhang Mengmeng

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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  • en