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Imagined diasporas : neoliberal nationalism in contemporary Singaporean fiction and state culture

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Item Summary

Title:Imagined diasporas : neoliberal nationalism in contemporary Singaporean fiction and state culture
Authors:Naruse, Narumi
Keywords:Cheryl Naruse
Singapore literature and culture
Date Issued:May 2014
Publisher:[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2014]
Abstract:In Imagined Diasporas: Neoliberal Nationalism in Contemporary Singaporean Fiction and State Culture, I compare the diasporic Singaporean figure as it is constructed in state narratives and contemporary fiction, making two central arguments: first, although the liberal humanist underpinnings of cosmopolitanism present attractive ideals for overcoming national difference, we must be cautious of the ways cosmopolitan thought can be retooled in the service of neoliberalism and at the expense of class consciousness; second, through my reading of a wide range of texts--including novels, performances, newspapers, and political speeches--I argue that an attention to genre and narrative can enrich an analysis of the cultural logics of neoliberalism.
The first half of the project shows how the Singaporean state's cultural production of diaspora serves to create and manage a population of cosmopolitan knowledge workers to maintain its position in a global economy through readings of the "Singaporean Abroad" series (2008-2012) from the Straits Times; a state-produced booklet, Conversations on Coming Home (2012); and a heritage festival known as Singapore Day. In contrast, the second half of the project examines how Singaporean authors Hwee Hwee Tan and Lydia Kwa use diasporic figures to perform critiques of neoliberal state policies that rely on the erasure of history, notions of human capital, and heteronormative family values.
As a whole, my study of Singapore complicates the tendency in postcolonial studies to privilege geo-political sites where independence has been predicated on anti-or decolonial struggle. When Singapore was expelled from Federation of Malaya, the newly independent state conceived itself as linked with its former British colonizer which has resulted in a postcolonial nationalism that is consciously complicit in many neocolonial practices. In its attention to the emergence of the diasporic figure as it relates to this unusual postcolonial past, my project offers important historical considerations to theorizations of neoliberal culture in a non-western context.
Description:Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2014.
Includes bibliographical references.
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - English

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