Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/143866
Title: UNDERSTANDING CHINESE: LOCALS, (IM)MIGRANTS AND IDENTITIES IN MUSEUMS
Authors: Zhang Jie
Keywords: museum, identity, Chinese, dissonant, new Chinese (im)migrant, Singaporean
Issue Date: 2017
Citation: Zhang Jie (2017). UNDERSTANDING CHINESE: LOCALS, (IM)MIGRANTS AND IDENTITIES IN MUSEUMS. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: In the 2000s, a series of arts development plans titled the Renaissance City Plan (RCP) were launched in Singapore to improve the cultural infrastructure including the National Museum, as well as to increase museum visitorship. Corresponding to the launch of the RCP, Singapore has experienced a rapid demographic change with the influx of new Chinese (im)migrants who have become a source of social tensions. While museums have been used for nation-building in Singapore, the experiences of new (im)migrants and their negotiation of identity in museums have often been overlooked. This thesis aims to redress this gap by using a combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches to examine: i) the ways Chinese heritage and history are represented in museums, and ii) how visitors interpret and contest such representations. In doing so, this research seeks to understand the roles museum can play in forging a common identity between local citizens and (im)migrants, thereby leading to a positive and progressive relationship between the two communities. I premise my research on the National Museum of Singapore and the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall. Using Smith’s authorised heritage discourse, I argue that the state-curated museums subsume Chinese history and heritage under the ideological construction of Singapore as a ‘nation’ and a ‘Big Singapore’, while ignoring a diversity of sub-national cultural and social experiences. Yet, as Tunbridge and Ashworth have argued, dissonant is intrinsic to the nature of heritage. As such, I contend that dissonance arose when visitors’ interpretations of the exhibitions are at odds with the state’s preferred reading. While visitors recognised that the museums have been somewhat successful in bringing about a common identity between locals and new (im)migrants, the actual subjectivities of the individuals, together with the dissonance arisen, present barriers for the creation of a common identity between the two communities.
URI: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/143866
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses (Restricted)

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