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Hidden Hands and Divided LandscapesA Penal History of Singapore's Plural Society$
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Anoma Pieris

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780824832216

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824832216.001.0001

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(p.217) Chapter 8 Conclusion
Hidden Hands and Divided Landscapes

Anoma Pieris

University of Hawai'i Press

This concluding chapter reflects on the implications of this history for understanding contemporary Singapore. It suggests that the division of labor and the spatial entitlements first experimented within the colonial prison recur in a model of graduated citizenship that cuts sharply across the official categories for cultural pluralism. By doing so, it reproduces dialogic cultural forms that are undoubtedly dynamic and productive to all those participating in the capitalist economy to varying degrees. However, they operate within licensed and temporal domains where direct resistance is untenable and class consciousness is constructed against an immigrant “other.” The ultimate contest, it seems, is not between competing cultural communities but between the bounded nature of nationness and a history of open boundaries, endemic in the region's cultural imprint.

Keywords:   Singapore, pluralism, plural society, race, labor, citizenship

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