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Title: From Vulnerability to Sustainability: Re-Framing Singapore's Water Policy as Political Legitimacy
Issue Date: 2-Apr-2018
Citation: WAN YAN, CHRISTINE (2018-04-02). From Vulnerability to Sustainability: Re-Framing Singapore's Water Policy as Political Legitimacy. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Water is a resource that is essential for human survival; ensuring an adequate supply is key to the development of human civilizations. Once taken for granted, freshwater resources have been increasingly regarded as a scarce resource. Yet the notion of scarcity is highly political, and Singapore’s water policies are typically interpreted in relation to an awareness of perceived scarcity rather than an absolute engagement of scarcity. As a water-scarce city-state, Singapore’s unlikely success in water management policies and its technological investment in desalinated water and NEWater have made it a global leader in pioneering water technologies and urban water management. Despite Singapore’s extensive history of urban water policy and public engagement over water, the current literature on urban water policy has generally glossed over the impact of Singapore’s water policies on society and its implications in terms of symbolic meaning-making. Beyond water’s material utility, the symbolic and cultural significance of water facilitates its politicisation, which in turn shapes how society interacts and views water resources. This thesis explores how the perception of water scarcity has impacted Singapore’s management of water in the 21st century, its society’s changing relationship with water, and its state legitimacy. It presents a discourse analysis of both elite and non-elite perspectives on how water in Singapore has been viewed over time, from an issue of vulnerability to that of a marketable commodity. Areas of focus include Singapore’s two key technological water policies (desalination and NEWater), the ideational effects of water policy, and the success of the current incumbent government in shaping public perception on the issue of water. This thesis argues that Singapore’s water policy has been framed as a success of the technocratic state and is fundamentally tied to Singapore’s political legitimacy.
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses (Restricted)

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