The Visual Discourse of Protest Movements on Twitter: The Case of Hong Kong 2014

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2439

The Visual Discourse of Protest Movements on Twitter: The Case of Hong Kong 2014

  • Irmgard Wetzstein Department of Communication, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Vienna, Austria

Abstract  The article presents the results of a qualitative documentary image interpretation of the visual discourse of the Hong Kong protests on the Twitter hashtag #hongkongprotests. Visual thematic patterns, the actors depicted, and the relations between actors as well as visual perspectives were analyzed to derive the function of visual images and to give insights into visual protest storytelling. Visuals and image-text relations in Tweets within #hongkongprotests revealed an application of images in clear favor of the protest movement taking an ‘at the scene’/‘on the ground’ perspective, with media workers being active in front of the camera rather than mere observers behind the camera. While the approach used proved to be suitable for the research project, the research design comes with some limitations, for example in terms of the non-generalizability of results.

Keywords  documentary image interpretation; Hong Kong; protest movement; social media; Twitter; visual discourse

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