Politics of Nation-Building and Citizenship in Singapore by Michael Hill

By Michael Hill

Due to the fact that independence in 1965 Singapore has reinforced its personal nationwide id via a wide awake technique of nation-building and selling the energetic position of the citizen inside society. Singapore is a kingdom that has firmly rejected welfarism yet whose political leaders have maintained that collective values, rather than these of independent participants, are necessary to its very survival.The booklet starts off by way of reading simple suggestions of citizenship, nationality and the country within the context of Singapore's arrival at independence. The subject matter of nation-building is explored and the way the construction of a countrywide identification, via construction new associations, has been a vital characteristic of political and social lifestyles in Singapore. of serious value has been schooling, and a approach of multilingual schooling that's a part of a broader executive technique of multiculturalism and multiracialism; either have served the aim of creating a brand new nationwide id. different components lined through the authors comprise kinfolk making plans, housing coverage, the construction of parapolitical buildings and the imporatnce of shared `Asian values' among Singapore's voters.

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This survey set 39 40 Nation Building and Citizenship in Singapore in motion subsequent studies on national identity, notably by Chiew (1972), the findings of which were published in Chan and Evers (1978), Chen (1983) and Quah et al. (1985). Data collected in the SNIS were used in an analysis of ethnicity and nationality by Chew (1987). In 1989 the Institute of Policy Studies was requested by the Singapore government to conduct a study to identify those national values which would help to unite all Singaporeans.

Both aspects of nation building are analogous to the maintenance of the ethnic boundary; for it is the boundary which defines the ethnic group, not the cultural content that it encloses (Bauman, 1992:678). Nationality and physical borders constitute the imaginary and real boundaries of the nation respectively, and they may be viewed as ‘discourses in which identities and counter-identities are conceived and through which they are sustained’ (Bauman, 1992:678) in the construction of the nation. The greater the need for such boundaries to be maintained the more exclusivist citizenship and membership of a nation-state will be.

The rhetoric of nationhood involves the generation of cultural-symbolic capital in society, and the restructuring of collective identity and its symbolic contents. The development of such an identity is important for individual members of society because ‘individuals expect to recognize themselves in public institutions. They expect some consistency between their private identities and the symbolic contents upheld by public authorities, embedded in the societal institutions, and celebrated in public events’ (Breton, 1984:124–5).

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