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Stand up for Singapore? Gay men and the cultural politics of national belonging in the Lion City

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Title: Stand up for Singapore? Gay men and the cultural politics of national belonging in the Lion City
Author(s): Tan, Kok Kee
Director of Research: Manalansan, IV, Martin F.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Manalansan, IV, Martin F.
Doctoral Committee Member(s): Lehman, F. K.; Keller, Janet D.; Lugo, Alejandro
Department / Program: Anthropology
Discipline: Anthropology
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): Citizenship Gay men Singapore
Abstract: This dissertation ethnographically examines how Chinese-Singaporean gay men articulate their aspirations for national belonging within a recalcitrant state and its nation-building programs. These men expose the artificiality of the nation and its categories of belonging. Even as the state compels them to submit to its call for economic and biological (re)productivity, it also chastises them for their allegedly excessive individualism. Yet, in the corporeal spaces of everyday life, they navigate a social landscape structured by the very real practices of an authoritarian state that criminalizes their sexuality. By ethnographically charting how gay men comply with and resist discourses and practices that position them both inside and outside their nation, I argue that the illiberal state achieves its political legitimacy by successfully convincing citizens that only it can secure Singapore's continuous economic growth. I further assert that within Singapore's strongly communitarian political framework, gay citizens who stress their commonalities with their non-gay counterparts tend to attain more social acceptance than those who focus solely on their sexuality.
Issue Date: 2011-05-25
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/24017
Rights Information: Copyright 2011 Kok Kee Tan
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-05-25
Date Deposited: 2011-05
 

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