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Title: ‘Making Live’ and ‘Letting Die’: The Biopolitics of Transgender Spatialities in Singapore
Authors: Lim Xiao Qi
Keywords: Transgender , Biopolitics , Gender , Sexuality , Queer , Body , Home , Sex Work
Issue Date: 2016
Citation: Lim Xiao Qi (2016). ‘Making Live’ and ‘Letting Die’: The Biopolitics of Transgender Spatialities in Singapore. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Geographical literature on gender and sexuality has hitherto paid scant attention to transgender lives and spatialities, despite the potential of transgender experiences to both trouble and evince the continued salience of normative linkages between sex, gender and sexuality. This thesis aims to address this lacuna through exploring the geographies of lived transgender experiences in Singapore. Using Foucault’s biopolitics, I elucidate how the Singaporean state seeks to discipline transgender bodies in its bid to produce an ideal cisgender, heteronormative population, while simultaneously underscoring how transgender individuals, along with state and nonstate actors, reproduce, contest and negotiate state biopolitics in their quotidian lives. I ground my analysis with a focus on body, home and sex work spaces, given that these spaces are intricately bound up with the state’s biopolitics of heteronormativity. Crucially, I argue that the exclusionary biopolitics predicated upon cisgender norms and heteronormativity often renders lived transgender experiences difficult and ambiguous, without sidestepping the agency of transgender individuals. Apart from empirical analysis, this thesis also addresses wider theoretical implications by engaging with queer debates within geography and the wider transgender/queer/ feminist debate. While the transgender subject has often been valorised as fluid, subversive and thus a queer trope in existing debates, I draw upon a geographical reading of my empirical material to cast doubt on such theorisation and instead contend that we move beyond binaries of fluid/static, normative/antinormative and queer/unqueer.
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses (Restricted)

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