Mainstream structuralist and new social movement theoretical approaches to studying social movements in Western sociological traditions fail to explain why the Sunflower movement fostered solidarity among the Taiwanese while Occupy Central caused public division in Hong Kong. In response, I argue that the successes and failures of both were a function of the consolidation and division of collective identity. Using a qualitative case study, this article analyzes the discursive constructions of collective identity as they intersect with protest spaces, drawing out the events in their protest cycles and identifying the mechanisms within them that constructed and deconstructed collective identity. In doing so, I illustrate three phases of collective identity construction: the creation of collective claims, recruitment strategies, and expressive decision-making. Ultimately, this explicates the movements’ differing outcomes, and how their decline both narrowed and broadened identity in ways that provide a repertoire of ideological narratives usable as recruitment strategies in future mobilizations.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited