Workshop: "National Identities and the Youth in East Asia: Popular culture, Political Mobilisation, and Digital Spaces"

Workshop: "National Identities and the Youth in East Asia: Popular culture, Political Mobilisation, and Digital Spaces"

Date: 2-3 May 2019

Venue: Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium

Organizer: Chenchen Zhang and Frederik Ponjaert (ULB/EASt and ULB/REPI)

As East Asian societies seek to come to term with demographic, economic, political and technological transitions in recent decades, the younger generation – the-called Millennials born after 1980 – have been both impacted by and assuming an increasingly active role in shaping these transformations. Despite being frequently depicted as a politically apathetic generation and with only limited access to traditional levers of state and cultural power, the youth in East Asia have been able to negotiate their political identities through a variety of channels outside official institutions such as popular culture, social and political activisms, and online communications. Digital spaces have become a particularly significant venue for the technologically sophisticated youth to engage in explicit or disguised forms of mobilisations and self-expressions as a strategy to, for instance, resist authoritarian control or to cope with social isolation. On the other hand, from the umbrella movement in Hong Kong and the sunflower movement in Taiwan to emerging feminist activisms in mainland China despite heightened oppressions, the youth are also increasingly involved in claiming the physical public space and in some cases utilising digital networks as a tool for real-world mobilisations. This workshop aims to explore the formation, negotiation, and performance of political identities among East Asian youth with a special focus on the role of popular culture, online and offline mobilisations, and digital communications. It brings together researchers from Europe, Asia, and the United States to discuss not only the question of national identities, or how the youth appropriate and challenge nationalist imaginaries within the context of ever encroaching globalisation, but also more broadly the political (dis)engagement of the youth in East Asia beyond nationalist practices and discourses. Government policies and new patterns of political communication through digital media platforms that seek to influence the political identity of the young will also be taken into account. The outcome of the workshop is expected to lead up to an edited volume under contract with Routledge.

The workshop is co-organized by the Centre for East Asian Studies (EASt) and the Recherche et Etudes en Politique Internationale (REPI), ULB.

Scientific Committee: Shaun Breslin (Warwick University); Vanessa Frangville (Université libre de Bruxelles); Thierry Kellner (Université libre de Bruxelles); Florent Villard (Science Po Rennes)

Workshop: "National Identities and the Youth in East Asia: Popular culture, Political Mobilisation, and Digital Spaces"