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Title: Governing Global Flows The Making of Singapore as a Pre-eminent Financial Centre
Authors: Tan Xuan Kai
Keywords: International financial centre, economic governance, spatial imaginary, political project, wealth management industry, Singapore
Issue Date: 2015
Citation: Tan Xuan Kai (2015). Governing Global Flows The Making of Singapore as a Pre-eminent Financial Centre. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This thesis seeks to bring a new perspective to the study of international financial centres (IFC) by developing an analysis that decentres dominant literature understanding of them as a priori spatial agglomerations of financial activities and instead, emphasize their political performativity, historical contingency and geographical specificity. It does so by analysing the transformation of Singapore into a ‘Pre-eminent Financial Centre’ within the past decade that is constituted by the framing, emergence and development of wealth management as an industry, underpinned by a new understanding of economic relations, a new imagined geography and a new version of the financial worker. Drawing upon post-structural political economy (PSPE) that recognises the constitutive nature of economic categories, alongside a process-based methodological framework that employs discourse analysis, semi-structured interviews and participant observation, I show that the term IFC is not just an objective description of an economic reality, but is also a political prescription that legitimises and enables policy interventions to achieve particular economic performativity. On one hand, the spatial imaginary of Singapore as a ‘Pre-eminent Financial Centre’ is linked to two political projects – globalisation and the knowledge-based economy – in which the wealth management industry is understood to have different possibilities. On the other hand, these policy discourses and practices have resulted in, and are constituted by, the material formation of new governable subjects and urban spaces. In the context of Singapore as a developmental state, the concept of IFC thus works to ensure the political legitimacy and socioeconomic status of the ruling elites vis-à-vis the governing of global flows. The thesis then concludes by reflecting on the need to destabilise the taken-for-granted category of IFC by politicising
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses

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