Collective action as narrativity and praxis: Theory and application to Hong Kong’s urban protest movements

Raul Lejano, Ernest Chui, Timothy Lam, Jovial Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Policy scholars need to better describe the diversity of actors and interests that forge collective political action through nonformal social networks. The authors find extant theories of collective action to only partially explain such heterogeneity, which is exemplified by the urban protest movements in Hong Kong. A new concept, that of the narrative-network, appears better able to describe movements chiefly characterized by heterogeneity. Instead of simple commonalities among members, a relevant property is the plurivocity of narratives told by members of the coalition. Analyzing ethnographic interviews of members of the movement, the authors illustrate the utility of narrative-network analysis in explaining the complex and multiple motivations behind participation. Narrativity and the shared act of narration, within an inclusive and democratic community, are part of what sustains the movement. The research further develops the theory of the narrative-network, which helps explain the rise of street protest in Hong Kong as an emergent, alternative form of civic engagement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-289
Number of pages30
JournalPublic Policy and Administration
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018


  • Advocacy coalition framework
  • Hong Kong
  • collective action
  • narrative-network
  • social movements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration


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