Published in 1999, the book invites readers to rethink about the contemporary form of politics in terms of the cultural and narrative logics of public discourse. The author proposes that the notions of 'public' and 'narrative' are central to understanding the discursive formation of public opinion. Incorporating a reformulated conception of the public into a theory of narrative progression, Dr. Ku explains (1) the interaction between narrative construction and political conflicts in politics of public credibility and (2) the progressive or narrative formation of the force of the ’public’ out of the struggle as well as its power over the positioning and re-positioning of the actors. Using the method of textual interpretation of newspaper discourses, she analyzes the interplay between politics and the 'public' by delving into the continuously changing narrative contexts wherein the controversy over governor Patten’s reform proposals unfolded in Hong Kong between 1992 and 1994.
'[Her] analysis is systematically developed and well crafted.' The China Journal 'Agnes Ku's work reminds readers of the importance of agenda-setting and issue definition in the sphere of politics in general and the politics of reform in particular…this in-depth case study is a good qualitative work and will provide students with an alternative to elite-centric explanations of the politics of reform.' Journal of Asian and African Studies
1. Introduction 2. Theoretical Approaches to the Public Sphere 3. Narratives and Politics 4. Methodology 5. Historical Development of the Political Public Sphere in Hong Kong 6. Political-Cultural Context in the Early 1990s 10. The Final Sino-British Battle Over Democratic Reform (1992-94) 8. Discursive Formation (I): Democracy, Romanticism and Cynicism 9. Discursive Formation (II): Stability and Comic-Realism 10. The Changing Public in the Political Process 11. The Romance to Strike Back? 12. Conclusion.
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