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Neoliberalism and Authoritarianism in Singaporean Cinema: a Case Study of Perth
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of culture and media studies.
2011 (English)In: Neoliberalism and Global Cinema: Capital, Culture and Marxist Critique / [ed] Jyotsna Kapur, Keith B. Wagner, New York, London: Routledge , 2011, 1, 261-279 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This essay examines the strains, tensions, and ultimate congruity between neoliberalism and authoritarianism in Singapore as shown through the tragic story of Harry Lee, protagonist of the Singaporean film, Perth (2004). The authoritarianism examined here is that of a government which focuses its resources and energies not only on the pragmatics of the marketplace, but in its ideological and electoral strategies specifically pits the country’s economic success as the singular goal, even at the costs of the social and human welfare. Through a close reading of Perth, this essay describes the price exacted by neoliberalism: (i) on account of class differences between higher, white‑collar income earners and those who are less skilled and mobile; (ii) the rapid phasing out of the old and the familiar; and (iii) the brutal realities of economic development which rides roughshod over those who fail to keep up or are deliberately kept out of “making it”. The central argument is that the sheen of Singapore’s economic success is, as elsewhere, shadowed by the state’s authoritarianism, which is relentlessly perpetuating its economic agenda at serious human costs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York, London: Routledge , 2011, 1. 261-279 p.
Keyword [en]
neoliberalism, capitalism, cinema, Singapore, Singaporean, film
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-44245ISBN: 0-415-88905-7OAI: diva2:419743
Available from: 2011-05-27 Created: 2011-05-27 Last updated: 2011-06-20Bibliographically approved

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