The politics of free flow : data mobilities and territoriality in Hong Kong

Document Type


Source Publication

Crossroads in Cultural Studies Conference 2016

Publication Date



Association for Cultural Studies


Focused on Hong Kong, this paper explores how data routing informs management techniques and rationalities in techno-centric urban governance apparatuses that are articulated to norms such as “transparency,” “open data,” “connectivity,” and “free flow.” Drawing from mobility studies, data flows – including their direction, pace and pattern – are managed and channelled in particular ways, and, we can add, transition into knowledge at particular points. It is this mobility that produces the order of urban life and space, tying micropolitical routines to macropolitical agendas. However, given Hong Kong’s political conjuncture, data logics are concomitant with diverse and contested imaginaries of freedom, which are centered alternatively on mobility, such as unchecked free flow, and territoriality, such as sovereign entitlements and liberal rights including free speech. Accordingly, this paper explores a series of paradoxes of mobility and territoriality by comparing techno-centric apparatuses of governance to alternative practices by activists. Rather than free speech as an abstract right, I highlight emerging imaginaries of informational freedoms in practices by Hong Kong’s civic hackers and digital activists.

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2016 Association for Cultural Studies.



Recommended Citation

Hoyng, R. (2016, December). The politics of free flow: data mobilities and territoriality in Hong Kong. Paper presented at the Crossroads in Cultural Studies Conference 2016, Australia.

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