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“Authenticity” and “Foreign Talent” in Singapore: The Relative and Negative Logic of National Identity

“Authenticity” and “Foreign Talent” in Singapore: The Relative and Negative Logic of National... Abstract: Singapore’s constitutive sociocultural hybridity has meant that this postcolonial island-nation’s national identity has always been a problematic construct. The developmental state’s pragmatism and self-re-inventiveness further undermine the efforts to construct a stable national identity, frustrating the desire for an authentic nationhood in the essentialist and positive sense. Focus on the more recently arrived “foreign talent” subjects who inhabit the margins of the Singaporean imagination of the national body informs an alternative analytical angle on the question of Singaporean national identity. It is suggested that a sense of national togetherness and belonging emerges through constructing these national Others as “inauthentic”. Examination of two particularly visible and controversial types of “foreign talent” in Singapore — foreign sports professionals and foreign students who have received scholarships from the Singapore government — and of the ways in which they are discursively framed suggests that the “foreign talent” unwittingly constitute a relative and negative solution to Singapore’s national identity problem. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia Institute of Southeast Asian Studies

“Authenticity” and “Foreign Talent” in Singapore: The Relative and Negative Logic of National Identity

“Authenticity” and “Foreign Talent” in Singapore: The Relative and Negative Logic of National Identity

Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia , Volume 29 (2) – Jul 17, 2014

Abstract

Abstract: Singapore’s constitutive sociocultural hybridity has meant that this postcolonial island-nation’s national identity has always been a problematic construct. The developmental state’s pragmatism and self-re-inventiveness further undermine the efforts to construct a stable national identity, frustrating the desire for an authentic nationhood in the essentialist and positive sense. Focus on the more recently arrived “foreign talent” subjects who inhabit the margins of the Singaporean imagination of the national body informs an alternative analytical angle on the question of Singaporean national identity. It is suggested that a sense of national togetherness and belonging emerges through constructing these national Others as “inauthentic”. Examination of two particularly visible and controversial types of “foreign talent” in Singapore — foreign sports professionals and foreign students who have received scholarships from the Singapore government — and of the ways in which they are discursively framed suggests that the “foreign talent” unwittingly constitute a relative and negative solution to Singapore’s national identity problem.

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Publisher
Institute of Southeast Asian Studies
Copyright
Copyright © Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.
ISSN
1793-2858
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract: Singapore’s constitutive sociocultural hybridity has meant that this postcolonial island-nation’s national identity has always been a problematic construct. The developmental state’s pragmatism and self-re-inventiveness further undermine the efforts to construct a stable national identity, frustrating the desire for an authentic nationhood in the essentialist and positive sense. Focus on the more recently arrived “foreign talent” subjects who inhabit the margins of the Singaporean imagination of the national body informs an alternative analytical angle on the question of Singaporean national identity. It is suggested that a sense of national togetherness and belonging emerges through constructing these national Others as “inauthentic”. Examination of two particularly visible and controversial types of “foreign talent” in Singapore — foreign sports professionals and foreign students who have received scholarships from the Singapore government — and of the ways in which they are discursively framed suggests that the “foreign talent” unwittingly constitute a relative and negative solution to Singapore’s national identity problem.

Journal

Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast AsiaInstitute of Southeast Asian Studies

Published: Jul 17, 2014

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