Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/32444
Title: Consumer Society and the Technology of Education: A Case Study of the Singapore Education System
Authors: ALVIN SAW TEONG CHIN
Keywords: education, hypercapitalism, cyborg, megamachine, simulacra, consumption,
Issue Date: 15-Dec-2011
Source: ALVIN SAW TEONG CHIN (2011-12-15). Consumer Society and the Technology of Education: A Case Study of the Singapore Education System. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Abstract: Singapore has been hailed as a model of spectacular economic development, having gone from third world to first world in a mere three decades since its independence in 1965. The Singapore Education System (SES) is at the heart of this economic miracle, being responsible for the development of Singapore?s only resource, its people. The urgent development of this only resource to meet the needs of the global hypercapitalist economy is still regarded as a survival imperative today. Using the theories of Baudrillard regarding the consumer society and that of Mumford regarding the Megamachine and theories of hypercapitalism, I examine the role of the SES in cyborg development and production. I argue that the SES represents a type of technology which has been developed by what Mumford terms the megamachine through the technics of Singapore?s People?s Action Party (PAP)-state government which I trace from Singapore?s colonial heritage. The objects of education which together form the technology of education in Singapore employs what I term as procedural signification to prepare students not just in terms of skills but psychologically and mentally for their roles as cyborgs in the global hypercapitalist economy. The case of Singapore is unique because of the degree of entrenchment of the PAP-state government since independence which represents an example of continuous megamachine development since that time. The SES thus represents a technology of simulacra that parallels the formation of the Singapore megamachine which has refined the art and science of cybernetic reproduction. Schools are thus sites of production-consumption where the foundation of consumer society, the ego consumans is nurtured and where simultaneously its mirror, the homo machina is developed, both critical processes at the heart of the hypercapitalist project to ensure its own hegemony. The development of consumer society is thus inextricably linked to the development of what I term the neo-megamachine in Singapore and education is at the heart of this project. Finally, I speculate on the future of this hybrid entity which I call the machina consumans.
URI: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/32444
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