Did the pandemic spread populism? comparative study on the transformations of citizen movements in Chile and Hong Kong


Social Movement Studies
Autores COES:
Otros Autores: Juan Enrique Serrano-Moreno

This article analyses the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the citizen movements initiated in Hong Kong and Chile in 2019. Based on discourse analysis and interviews, the study argues that adapting the repertoires of protest to the mobility restrictions and the evolution of the political systems reinforced the populist dimension of the Anti-ELAB (anti-extradition law amendment bill) and the Chilean Spring movements. In Hong Kong, the restrictions of freedoms facilitated the constitution of a broad international network opposed to the Chinese Communist Party that comprises overseas organisations and public figures in exile dedicated to lobbying before western governments and providing a discourse frame to the diasporic communities. In Chile, the successive election campaigns that accompanied the constitutional process allowed new political actors with refoundation aspirations to access the institutions. This study found, in both cases, that rhetoric based on the antagonistic exaltation of the people’s signifier has become central to the movements’ discourses: a transformation accompanied by the consolidation of political leaders pretending to represent the movements’ demands. This study analyses the discourses and demands of the citizen movements in light of the institutional framework in which they appear and evolve to contribute to the growing literature where the study of contemporary social movements intersects with the studies of populism.

Como citar: Serrano-Moreno, J. E., & Osorio Solano, S. A. (2023). Did the pandemic spread populism? Comparative study on the transformations of citizen movements in Chile and Hong Kong. Social Movement Studies, 1–19.