Affect, materiality, and the gift of social life in Singapore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper draws on research data gathered from an Internet discussion forum, e-mail survey, and newspaper report to examine the question of national identity and belonging in Singapore. It considers how Singaporean citizens relate to the kinds of discourses on national identity presented by the government and articulate their experiences and sense of belonging to the Singapore nation. It argues that the government's approach to nation building based on economic developmentalism and survivalism has created an ambivalent and tenuous relationship of mutual obligation between the individual and the nation-state. It is therefore crucial that the basis of national identity is dislodged from the ideology of survivalism if an ethical practice of obligation/reciprocity is to emerge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


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