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Sustainability studies and the changing landscape of social science research in Singapore

International Social Science Journal (Chinese Edition)

No.1, 2018

 

Sustainability studies and the changing landscape of social science research in Singapore (Abstract)

 

Kamaludeen Mohamed Nasir

 

The Singapore government has traditionally invested heavily in, and focused on, the development of the hard sciences since gaining independence in 1965. This bode well for the fate of sustainable studies as the state, in the initial decades, focused heavily on performance legitimacy, emphasising issues of survivability and economic progress. With the country now at the top of global charts on many rankings on economic prosperity, the city-state has steadily begun to examine issues of nation-building rather than state-building. This can be attributed, in part, to the paradox of soft authoritarian regimes that invest heavily in human capital, because in the long run, an educated electorate will want, as active and informed citizens, to participate effectively in politics. The social sciences are slowly evolving to look at the Singapore model from a comparative perspective, moving away from the dominant narrative of “Singaporean exceptionalism”, which overstates the uniqueness of the city-state.