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Title: Belonging to Nowhere: Social Trust and the Middle Class in Singapore
Issue Date: 16-Apr-2018
Citation: CHEW QIAN HUI (2018-04-16). Belonging to Nowhere: Social Trust and the Middle Class in Singapore. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Using the 6th wave of the World Values Survey (WVS), this thesis finds that among the various class groups in Singapore, the ‘middle class’ in particular, portrays the least propensity to trust – whether it is towards generalized others or towards specific groups such as family, neighbours, people they know personally, strangers, and people from other religious and nationality groups. This thesis combines both qualitative interviews as well as quantitative analysis to show that middle educated informants are particularly likely to cite insecurities, anxieties and precarity from being in the middle, which then reduces their tendency to trust others. Those insecurities are found to arise from structural conditions, include perceived barriers to social mobility and sometimes, having to contend with institutionalised discrimination. Part of the trust deficits of the middle class are also bound up with their lower participation in voluntary associations. While this thesis finds that voluntary associations are a major facilitator of trust, it also reveals the paradox that it is precisely the middle class that often finds itself unable to contribute more actively to voluntary associations. Factors such as lack of networks and most palpably, restrictions on personal time and finances, impede a broader participation in society. My qualitative interviews reveal that while voluntary associations are important “third places” for fostering networks of trust, the middle classes often are caught in a situation of “no time, no money, and no networks”, and hence are privy to few options for increasing their belongingness to society.
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses (Restricted)

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