The Revitalization of Eurasian Identity in Singapore

The Revitalization of Eurasian Identity in Singapore The Revitalization of Eurasian Identity in Singapore* Alexius Pereira Department of Sociology National University of Singapore This paper accounts for the revitalization of Eurasian identity in the 1990s. The revitalization was instrumental, as Eurasians had found themselves socially marginalized, particularly since the other ethnic groups were becoming more assertive about their respective ethnic identities since the 1980s. To counter this, the Eurasians selectively constructed a set of cultural practices and outlooks which were unique to the group, but not necessarily reviving practices that were "lost". The revitalization was therefore not a deep-seated emotional or primordial attachment to their identity; instead, it was used to improve the position of the community in Singapore. Eurasians are commonly accepted as descendants of Europeans and Asians. In Singapore, there are around 13,000 Eurasians (Singapore Census of Population 1990), constituting less than 1 % of Singapore's total population. Between the 1960 and 1980 censuses, their identity was described as "breaking down" (Willis, 1983:4) while Eurasians felt "marginalized" and "alienated" (Braga-Blake, 1992: 23). However, since the mid-1980s, there have been signs that Eurasian identity is being reasserted. The research for this paper found that the reason behind this revitalization in the 1990s was not http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Asian Journal of Social Science Brill

The Revitalization of Eurasian Identity in Singapore

Asian Journal of Social Science, Volume 25 (2): 7 – Jan 1, 1997

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 1997 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1568-4849
eISSN
1568-5314
D.O.I.
10.1163/030382497X00149
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The Revitalization of Eurasian Identity in Singapore* Alexius Pereira Department of Sociology National University of Singapore This paper accounts for the revitalization of Eurasian identity in the 1990s. The revitalization was instrumental, as Eurasians had found themselves socially marginalized, particularly since the other ethnic groups were becoming more assertive about their respective ethnic identities since the 1980s. To counter this, the Eurasians selectively constructed a set of cultural practices and outlooks which were unique to the group, but not necessarily reviving practices that were "lost". The revitalization was therefore not a deep-seated emotional or primordial attachment to their identity; instead, it was used to improve the position of the community in Singapore. Eurasians are commonly accepted as descendants of Europeans and Asians. In Singapore, there are around 13,000 Eurasians (Singapore Census of Population 1990), constituting less than 1 % of Singapore's total population. Between the 1960 and 1980 censuses, their identity was described as "breaking down" (Willis, 1983:4) while Eurasians felt "marginalized" and "alienated" (Braga-Blake, 1992: 23). However, since the mid-1980s, there have been signs that Eurasian identity is being reasserted. The research for this paper found that the reason behind this revitalization in the 1990s was not

Journal

Asian Journal of Social ScienceBrill

Published: Jan 1, 1997

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