Citizenship discourse in Hong Kong: The limits of familial tropes

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1 Scopus citations


This article traces how citizenship in Hong Kong is constructed via familial tropes that privilege sameness and a politics of identification; this rhetorical representation, I argue, not only perpetuates a jus sanguinis model of citizenship that privileges ethnic blood ties, but also allows the state and the dominant citizenry to justify neoliberal and racist practices that exclude brown bodies. By analyzing the citizenship claims made by the marginalized South Asian community in Hong Kong and the subsequent responses they receive from the mainstream public, I demonstrate that racialized populations face a rhetorical double bind: on the one hand, they must deploy the familial metaphors commonly used by the existing citizenry to demonstrate their sense of belonging, but, on the other hand, such tropes reinscribe them in a power hierarchy that undermines their subjectivity. This case study illuminates that while it is commonly seen as a viable rhetorical tactic for marginalized rhetors to resist and participate, the repurposing and redeployment of dominant tropes have significant limitations as they are constricted by power structures that are staunchly in place.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalQuarterly Journal of Speech
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 National Communication Association.


  • Belonging
  • Ethnicity
  • Identity
  • Nation
  • Race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education


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