Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/166286
Title: EXPLAINING SINGAPORE'S DURABLE AUTHORITARIAN REGIME: CO-OPTING THE MIDDLE CLASS VIA STATE EMPLOYMENT
Authors: ALICIA WANG SIN
Keywords: Co-optation, Authoritarian Durability, Authoritarian Regime, Singapore Middle Class, Public Sector Employment, People's Action Party
Issue Date: 17-Dec-2019
Citation: ALICIA WANG SIN (2019-12-17). EXPLAINING SINGAPORE'S DURABLE AUTHORITARIAN REGIME: CO-OPTING THE MIDDLE CLASS VIA STATE EMPLOYMENT. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This thesis examines the anomalous phenomenon of Singapore remaining staunchly authoritarian despite experiencing stellar economic growth. While many economically developed countries have developed into democracies as argued by modernisation theorist Seymour Martin Lipset, Singapore has not. This thesis contends that young middle-class Singaporeans have been co-opted by the state via state employment. Recognising their revolutionary potential, the ruling party set out to co-opt university graduates into the Singapore Public Service (PS). Upon gaining state employment, university graduates enter into a predictable system of patronage. Material and non-material benefits in the form of pay, perks and prestige are now contingent on how well the civil servant performs. In order to continue enjoying these benefits, public servants work hard and avoid engaging in behaviour that appear to challenge the regime and its policies. Potential opposition towards the regime are defused, thus contributing to the maintenance of the authoritarian state. Instead of agents of democratisation, the young middle-class people are, in the case of Singapore, perpetuators of authoritarian rule. It challenges the conventional view that the existence of the large, well-educated middle class makes democratisation inevitable and shed new light on the role that the middle class plays in sustaining Singapore’s authoritarian system.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/166286
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses (Open)

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