The cultural grassroots and the authoritarian city: Spaces of contestation in Singapore

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Introduction From the top of the monumental Marina Bay Sands Hotel, fifty-seven floors above Singapore’s glistening financial district, the city-state spreads away into the tropical haze in a sea of towers. The street, far below, looks very small. Yet, ensconced in the city’s nooks and crannies, an increasingly vocal cultural grassroots has emerged. Singapore’s quest to be a ‘Global City for the Arts’ has been well documented (Chang, 2000; Chang and Lee, 2003; and Chapter 6, this volume; Yue, 2007; Yun, 2008; Kong, 2012; Goh, 2014) as it has positioned itself among the world’s elite club of global cultural cities. Yet only recently have researchers begun the task of exploring the Singaporean grassroots, and how cultural activism manifests and engenders various encounters on the ground. How to locate politics in Singapore’s cultural context and how to conceptualise the ways in which cultural and political encounters shape each other are now compelling questions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMaking cultural cities in Asia
Subtitle of host publicationMobility, Assemblage, and the Politics of Aspirational Urbanism
EditorsTim Oakes, June Wang, Yang Yang
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781315726052
ISBN (Print)9781138848726
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


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