Civic Interventions in the Age of Digital Asia

Dr Li-chia Lo1, Dr Shiau Ching  Wong2, Dr Selina C. F.  Ho3, Dr Aleks Deejay1

1The University Of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia, 2Independent Researcher, , Singapore, 3Lingnan University, Hong Kong, China

Chair: Dr Li-chia Lo


From Jürgen Habermas to Carole Pateman and Benjamin Barber, deliberation and participation are revived to address the insufficiency of representative democracy by fostering a stronger civil society and a more engaging citizenry. While these theoretical elaborations are directed to European and North American contexts, they resonated differently in many Asian countries struggling with vulnerable democracy or resilient authoritarianism. Deliberation and participation hence become the active civic interventions cultivating socio-political changes. Combining online tools with offline activities, various creative strategies are used by the youth to circulate information, crowdsource ideas, and mobilize collective action to engage in public affairs. Their creative interventions may not result in revolutionary changes, but these trials and errors are gradually redefining the political landscape.

In this panel, we aim to focus on three cases in Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong. In Taiwan, a community of civic hackers leverages on digital technology to renew imaginations of democratic politics. In Singapore, local calls for preserving community heritage challenge the government’s developmental mindset and enrich the meanings of citizenship. In Hong Kong, creative citizens have a role in the anti-extradition bill movement and generated countless strategies. By delving into these case studies, we invite participants to examine how far civic interventions can go.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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