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Theatre and Public Spaces in Singapore In-betweenness as Power in a Soft Authoritarian State

Werkshage, Anne-Christin

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Abstract

The theatre is a contested realm in soft authoritarian Singapore. Applying the method of transculturality, this study follows Bourdieu’s theory of the ‘field of power’ and analyses the complex relationship between the ‘dominant dominators’ – the government – and the ‘dominated dominators’ – the theatre practitioners – in Singapore. This thesis explores how particularly small-scale local theatre practitioners actively negotiate with the government the ambiguously defined boundaries in order to turn theatres into public spaces, in which members of society can reflect on and debate pressing social issues. Using their substantial cultural capital and autonomy, theatre practitioners have creatively developed various strategies to counter or circumvent governmental boundaries in a non-confrontational way. Alongside these concrete strategies, theatre practitioners have found means to open up the theatre as a public space for society by transcending state multiculturalism without violating governmental boundaries. In this sense, the theatre as an institution located in between the government and the society has created a discursive public space and thus an ‘alternative’ public sphere to that of the government in Singapore.

Item Type: Master's thesis
Supervisor: Broisus, Prof. Dr. Christiane
Date of thesis defense: 27 May 2014
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2014 10:35
Date: 19 October 2014
Faculties / Institutes: Service facilities > Exzellenzcluster Asia and Europe in a Global Context
Subjects: 320 Political science
490 Other languages
792 Stage presentations
900 Geography and history
950 General history of Asia Far East
Controlled Keywords: public space, theatre, Singapore, government, Asia, Öffentlicher Raum, Autoritärer Staat, Theater, Singapur, Regierung, Asien
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