Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, 4/2009

In Constructing Singapore the authors convincingly demonstrate the eminent role of the education system in nation-building. While this may be true for most nation-building projects, Barr and Skrbiš demonstrate the uniqueness of the Singaporean model.

In Constructing Singapore the authors convincingly demonstrate the eminent role of the education system in nation-building. While this may be true for most nation-building projects, Barr and Skrbiš demonstrate the uniqueness of the Singaporean model. What makes Singapore unique, or at least an extreme example, in Southeast Asia is the explicit elitism of its nation- building and government agenda. Despite this uniqueness, the Singapore‘s nation-building and elite government model seems to be attractive to policymakers beyond the borders of the city state. For those studying nationalism in Southeast Asia, Barr’s and Skrbiš’s work is a very fruitful starting point for further research on state-led nation-building projects and their interrelation to questions of race, class, and gender. 

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