Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/23788
Title: Consuming More Than Just Water: A Discourse Analysis of Urban Water Management in Singapore From 1960 - 2009
Authors: LIM WEIDA
Keywords: Discourse, Singapore, Water Management, Environmental Sociology
Issue Date: 24-Sep-2010
Source: LIM WEIDA (2010-09-24). Consuming More Than Just Water: A Discourse Analysis of Urban Water Management in Singapore From 1960 - 2009. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Water as a resource is crucial for the survival of human beings and the subsequent formative development of human civilizations. Such an attestation of the importance of water however is not to suggest that there is any intrinsic value of water per se. Instead, it is more appropriate to argue that the relevance of water facilitates its politicization, and it is in fact such processes of politicization that shape and affect the relationship between the society and water resources. Hence, within the urban context, urban water is inevitably even more complicated, as it is further subjected to the dynamism of the society, polity and economy of the urban context. Accordingly, urban water is invariably bounded with the power relations of the urban context, and comes to be affected by as well as is influential to the flow of everyday life within the urban condition. In the case of Singapore, the state has often brought up the claim that Singapore is a small country with limited water resources. Such a claim however is not a fixed one, and has been discursively engaged in different ways during different periods. From more overt punishment to discipline the population and to ensure sufficient water for development in the earlier years of independence, the focus has been shifting towards that of regularizing the relevance of an integrated urban water management system where the population have come to identify strongly with the consumption of a `City of Gardens and Water¿ lifestyle. This thesis adopts a discourse analysis of urban water management in Singapore from the 1960s to the 2000s. In order to facilitate such a study, this thesis adopts Michel Foucault¿s conceptualization of power and knowledge alongside Zygmunt Bauman¿s postmodern engagement of the aesthetic of consumption to explain the power relations related with urban water. This thesis argues that the discursive shift in urban water management in Singapore has been characterized by an increasing softening of the state¿s rhetoric of control over the years which allows for the developmental state to continue its interventionist style of governance within everyday life.
URI: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/23788
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