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They claim it runs counter to both the communitarianism that they profess to contain the socially disruptive effects of the country's rapid modernization Chua a , and the hetero-patriarchal family that they promote as the bedrock of society and the economy Heng and Devan In this light, I argue that seemingly homophobic state policies are really more heteronormative in nature, as they suppress homosexuality only as a side-effect of promoting hetero-patriarchy.

They do not stem from a religiously informed position that regards homosexuality as sinful, but rather from a philosophically informed communitarian one that frames it as an expression of excessive self-indulgence. It is this unbridled individualism that state officials try to contain, as I demonstrate in Chapter 3 with examples that feature heterosexual citizens.

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Arguing for the communitarian rationale in state policies, however, does not negate the considerable disadvantages that these policies place on gay citizens. After all, these policies deny them full-fledged citizenship and reinforce popular misconceptions of homosexuality as perverse and immoral. In recent years, LGBT rights activists invoke principles of cultural and sexual citizenship to proclaim their loyalty to Singapore and to challenge state constructions of their sexuality.


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In doing so, they unsettle the PAP's ideological work by conceptually untangling the party from Singapore the geographical territory, and from Singapore the nation-state. Surprisingly, they do not always receive support from the very people that they help. While some gay men hold back for fear of state retaliation, others become homonormative by trading their public rights as citizens for the privileges of private consumption Duggan I make three critical anthropological interventions in documenting Singapore's citizenship processes.

Firstly, political economists fail to adequately explain how the illiberal PAP could have produced a modern economy whose vitality rivals that of many liberal democracies. After all, modernity implies a transcendence of one's authoritarian past. Some scholars try to explain the PAP by framing Singapore in increasingly complex typologies. For example, Diamond locates the country as the sole occupant of the category of "hegemonic electoral authoritarianism" in his scheme.

Neither complex typologies nor the rejection of the PAP's ideological attempts explains how the party can be both stable and legitimate at the same time. The state policies towards reproduction and homosexuality crystallize the political tensions between the PAP's need for control and its need to appear liberal to secure political support.

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In exploring these policies, I argue that while Singaporeans especially those from the educated middle class find the PAP electoral and governance strategies ethically dubious, even irksome, they nevertheless tolerate the PAP because its leaders promised and continue to deliver a high level of economic well-being. Secondly, I highlight the specificities in gay men's lives.

Although feminism took root in anthropology to rectify the silencing of women's voices in classical ethnographies, its theoretical outlook left gender studies closely associated with women's studies. Some notable English-medium ethnographic exceptions include Boellstorff's study of gay Indonesia, Kong's study of gay men in Hong Kong, and Peletz's study of gender pluralism in early modern Southeast Asia. To address this scholarly imbalance, I focus only on gay men and not lesbians in my study.


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Lastly, I provide ethnographic instantiations of the sexual citizenship concept. While Evans pioneered its theorization in material terms, cultural geographers such as David Bell and Jon Binnie , still dominate its study. They owe the state taxes, must obey its laws, etc. By assimilating, one forgoes the right to critique the possibility and desirability of the types of sexual citizen one can become. Only recently did anthropologists begin to incorporate the concept of sexual citizenship into their work e.

Castle ; Parikh ; and Phillips By studying sexual citizenship in Singapore, I illuminate the limits and possibilities of the concept, and ultimately show how the state's disciplining of the unruly sexed body underpins citizen-state relationships. Cultural and Sexual Citizenship Focusing only on gay men for reasons that I explained earlier, I invoke citizenship concepts to frame my exploration of national belonging in Singapore.

In his seminal essay where he analyzes the development of legal citizenship in Britain from civil to political to social rights from the eighteenth to the twentieth century, Marshall claims that a full citizen must possess all three kinds of rights. He further links this possession to social class. This definition reveals a number of modern citizenship's key characteristics. Firstly, Marshall reveals the concept's inherent exclusivity. Typically, states grant membership only to those individuals who satisfy their membership criteria. Secondly, states may bestow citizenship arbitrarily, even when a citizen has done nothing to deserve it.

For example, one becomes a citizen of the United States simply because she was born there, or because her parents are themselves US citizens. Lastly, citizenship buffers against the material and social inequalities that capitalism inevitably produces. Seeking to maximize profits, the capitalistic market place has little provisions against unemployment, work-related injuries and illnesses, old age, an individual's social ir relevance, and other vagaries of life that a worker must endure. While acknowledging the utility of Marshall's theory, scholars also criticize it on several grounds.

Firstly, it fails to analyze coherently and consistently the causal mechanisms that produced an expansion of citizenship Alexander It does not explain how this expansion is driven by ethnic discontent in the United States, and by efforts to minimize class inequalities to gain access to housing, education, social security, and other basic resources in Britain Shklar Secondly, it treats citizenship as a uniform and coherent concept, and fails to explain how citizenship forms vary across different historical trajectories.

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For instance, the evolution of citizenship in Europe differs from citizenship in East and Southeast Asia. Thirdly, the theory assumes a somewhat homogenous society where regional, cultural and ethnic divisions pose less import than those of social class. Such a claim is not even tenable in Marshall's native Britain, an island that the British share with the Welsh, the Scots, and the Irish, much less the rest of the ethnically complex world.

Fourthly, the theory says little about citizen duties and obligations. It assumes a passive citizenry that the state protects from the market's uncertainties through a system of universal social rights, but does not question how these social rights transform from mere formal claims to effective forms of entitlement Turner Fifthly, critics question the limits of the buffer that modern citizenship provides against the free market's vagaries, arguing that it neither altered the basic structures of inequality in capitalism Mann , nor improved the position of women in society Siim Lastly, Marshall's legal definition of citizenship maps national belonging directly onto membership in nation-states.

However, such a theoretical framing became overly simplistic in a globalizing world of rapid cross-border flows of people, capital and information. Crenshaw , Lister , Williams , Yuval-Davis and Werbner , and other feminists and critical race theorists complicate the notion of universal citizenship further by highlighting the inflections that race, gender, class, sexuality, and other categories of difference make upon one's understanding of citizenship.

Marshall's theory attracted many critiques, but this does not mean that we should dismiss legal citizenship as a static category, or simply a status whose conferring depends on the fulfillment of certain legal requirements. Daniels reminds us that the cultural values and aspirations of a nation-state inform the legal criteria and opinions concerning membership in that entity. As the values and aspirations change over time, so do the criteria and opinions. The laws that first allowed, then banned, and ultimately reinstated Asian migration to the United States from the eighteenth to the twentieth century illustrate this cultural-legal connection.

Furthermore, the lack of formal citizenship does not automatically result in a lack of cultural citizenship either. Some people who do not fulfill the formal requirements of citizenship may still develop a sense of belonging as they are partially incorporated within society Chavez ; Flores Cultural citizenship provides my second anchoring concept. Such citizenship refers to the extra-legal emotional ties that bind one to her country. Within anthropology, two scholars wield particularly strong influences in the development of cultural citizenship studies. Working among US Latinos, Rosaldo envisions citizenship as a people-driven and continually expanding process of inclusion and enfranchisement.

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Ong critiques Rosaldo for privileging the agency of subordinated groups too much. Indeed, voluntary grassroots associations may hinder the development of inclusive and participatory social relations just as well as fostering them Hefner Ong takes a more top-down approach, and treats cultural citizenship as a process of subject formation where civil institutions socialize newcomers and integrate them into the nation-state.

She demonstrates a primary concern with the regimes of governmentality in her study of flexible citizenship practices among Hong Kong elites Ong She does so again in her study of how Cambodian-Americans locate the twin processes of being made and self-making in institutional webs of power Ong Hence, full membership in a dominant group does not automatically guarantee cultural belonging.

More recently, Siu combines both Rosaldo's and Ong's approaches in her analysis of diasporic citizenship among Chinese-Panamanians. This enables her to conceptualize citizenship as being subjected to global forces even as it operates within nation-state boundaries.

Related to cultural citizenship, sexual citizenship provides the third concept that orients this dissertation. Armstrong , Evans , and others note that in many democratic countries, sexuality informs judgments on whether groups or individuals can participate in public life in a responsible and desirable manner. Those whose sexual proclivities that society deems suspect, dangerous, or otherwise undesirable may find politicians and policy-makers curtailing their civil rights to define the nation's moral geographies. In this light, the debate among intellectuals and activists over sexual citizenship revolves around the balancing of state-granted rights as pay-off for one's responsibilities to the state Bell and Binnie ; Evans ; Hubbard ; Richardson ; Weeks By assimilating, one forgoes the right to critique the possibility and desirability of the types of sexual citizens one can become.

Others, especially geographers, consider it essential to examine issues of citizenship in terms of space because ideas of citizenship concern the appropriateness of one's behaviors in particular spheres of civil life Smith Binnie and Valentine argue that the ways Euro-American societies organize space help to naturalize heterosexuality. These societies do so by simultaneously saturating spaces of work, leisure and consumption with images and behaviors that encourage people to adopt heterosexual identities and performances Nast , while disciplining those who transgress the sexual and spatial order with social and legal codes of conduct Elder Such policing ranges from the formal sex zones that policy-makers set up to contain the sexed, unruly bodies of prostitutes, to the informal but potentially deadly homophobic abuse that gay men and lesbians risk attracting if they display public homosexual affection, friendship or desire.

Lastly, academics and activists most commonly associate sexual citizenship with non- normative practices and identities, most notably those of LGBT communities. Consequently, some confuse sexual citizenship with LGBT or even queer citizenship. Such thinking perpetuates the sexualization of non-normative groups while de-sexualizing the normative ones Bell and Binnie This thinking also obscures the fact that the contours of sexual citizenship have already been heavily heteronormalized.

As such, Bell and Binnie ibid. Research Methods To examine the dynamics of cultural and sexual citizenship in Singapore, I conducted a number of summer fieldwork projects there from to I returned again in August , for a total of 17 months this time, to do my dissertational research. Over the years, I built a network of informants, many of whom have since become my friends, but I faced difficulties in my initial attempts to know them.

I hardly knew anyone from the gay social circles when I first started. Nobody answered the advertisements for volunteer interviewees that I placed on online mailing lists either.

These advertisements rarely worked, I realized later, because they were the fieldwork equivalent of the cold call.