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Communicating the City

Meanings, Practices, Interactions


Edited By Giorgia Aiello, Matteo Tarantino and Kate Oakley

How human meanings, practices and interactions produce and are produced by urban space is the focus of this timely and exciting addition to the study of urban communication.

Challenging notions of the ‘urban’ as physically, economically or technologically determined, this book explores key intersections of discourse, materiality, technology, mobility, identity and inequality in acts of communication across urban and urbanizing contexts. From leisure and media consumption among Chinese migrant workers in a Guangdong village to the diverse networks and communication infrastructures of global cities like London and Los Angeles, this collection combines a range of perspectives to ask fundamental questions about the significance and status of cities in times of intensified mediation and connectivity.

With case studies from Italy, Britain, Ireland, Russia, the United States and China, this international collection demonstrates that both empirical and critical knowledge on the relationship between communication and urban life has become vital across the humanities and social sciences.

Communicating the City will be essential reading for all scholars and students who desire to gain an in-depth understanding of the multiple roles that media and communication have in lived experiences of the city.

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Chapter Ten: Plague in the city: Digital media as shaming apparatus toward mainland Chinese “locusts” in Hong Kong (Jonathan Corpus Ong / Tony Zhiyang Lin)


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Plague IN THE city

Digital media as shaming apparatus toward mainland Chinese “locusts” in Hong Kong



“They will cover the face of the ground so that it cannot be seen. They will devour what little you have left after the hail, including every tree that is growing in your fields. They will fill your houses and those of all Egyptians—something neither your parents nor your ancestors have ever seen from the day they settled in this land.’”


The Old Testament account of the plagues describes how God unleashed unto Egypt a swarm of locusts that covered the sky and consumed all trees and crops yet the stubborn pharaoh refused to free the enslaved Israelites. Today this biblical insect swarms back into the modern imaginary of twenty-first century Hong Kong as the commonly used racial slur directed at mainland Chinese tourists and immigrants that “swarm” the city in record numbers.

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