Mundane citizenship on the move: A counter-public response to inbound shopping tourism via mobile social media applications use

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Using digital ethnography to examine the daily mobile (micro)blogging (moblogging) practices of local residents as they confronted a wave of inbound shopping tourists in pre-Covid-19 pandemic Hong Kong, this article explores how the latest mode of mundane citizenship emerges from the communicative mobility of urban dwellers equipped with mobile phones and social media applications (apps). Recent research on the role of mobile devices and social media apps in citizen participation has focused on more visible forms of civic–political events, such as protests and voting, and tended to neglect the effects of mobile communication performed during banal travel and quotidian activities. This article offers an alternative reading of the relevance of mobile social media (MSM) in contemporary public lives by examining how they open up new temporalities and spatialities for counter-public engagement in the contexts of mundane urban mobility. The findings demonstrate various moblogging practices that entail modalities of counter-public engagement that traverse the personal, proto-political, and communal, and reveal how local residents used these modalities to articulate alternative public agendas, connect acts of consumer activism, and perform communal belonging vis-à-vis inbound shopping tourism amid their daily routines and modest journeys. Focusing on mobile socialities enabled by smartphones and networking apps, this article explicates how contemporary moblogging can, on the one hand, extend people's capacity to engage in citizen talk and connective action, while on the other hand, allow them to flexibly connect and contribute personal photobiographies and narratives to counter-public communities. By unpacking the novel pathways to citizen participation, it offers insights into new ways in which everyday mobile communication can be transformed into public involvement, albeit often in agonistic and emotional forms, and the role of MSM in this process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-551
Number of pages21
JournalMobile Media and Communication
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • counter-public
  • mobile micro-blogging
  • mundane citizenship
  • shopping tourism
  • smartphone
  • social media applications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Media Technology
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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