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Popular cultural policy: National day and national songs in Singapore

Lee, T.ORCID: 0000-0003-3333-0076 (2002) Popular cultural policy: National day and national songs in Singapore. Australian Journal of Communication, 29 (2). pp. 83-102.

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Singaporean cultural policy is about censoring the media and maintaining social and political control, while at the same time extracting economic value from various aspects of the arts and culture. While outlining (pre)existing cultural-policy positions, this paper looks briefly at recent policy frameworks in Singapore, namely Singapore 21 (Singapore 21 Committee, 1999) and the Renaissance City Report (Ministry of Information and the Arts, 2000a). It argues that these statements aim to convince citizens to embrace sociocultural change for the good of the nation. To ensure that these messages reach and engage citizens, the Singapore government employs a mass popularisation strategy mobilising popular cultural items-most notably national pop songs and music video clips. As this paper will evince, the lyrics and mediated video images of these popular national songs are not only powerful purveyors of the myth of nationhood, but essential tools of cultural policy with the immediate effect of reinforcing the hegemony of the economic and legitimising the political in Singapore.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Media, Communication and Culture
Publisher: Queensland Institute of Technology. Communication Institute
Copyright: 2002 The Author
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