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Title: The State's Management of New Religious Movements in Singapore: A Case Study of ISKCON.
Keywords: ISKCON, Singapore, New Religious Movements, Religion, State
Issue Date: 1-Apr-2010
Citation: RODNEY SEBASTIAN (2010-04-01). The State's Management of New Religious Movements in Singapore: A Case Study of ISKCON.. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This thesis investigates the state?s management of NRMs in Singapore through an in-depth case study of its interactions with the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). The state in Singapore plays an active role in managing religion and accords preference to particular forms of religion, although not in an overt manner. This is demonstrated through a religion management model and historical incidents involving religious movements and by using examples of NRMs which enjoyed varying degrees of acceptance from the state. The state manages religious movements through various forms of legislation and media campaigns which it has developed and embarked on over the years. The choice of Singapore serves as a suitable exemplar of a dynamic cosmopolitan city state composed of people from a variety of religious orientations and governed by an authoritarian state. ISKCON, widely accepted as a world rejecting NRM both in Western and Asian societies serves as a good example of a classic NRM which emerged during the counter culture period in the 1960s and has undergone various forms of internal and external transformations in its struggle for survival and expansion. The intersection of a new authoritarian state exercising total control over the lives of its citizens who are engaged in meeting the state?s sole objective of material prosperity and modernization with that of a new but traditional religious movement with monastic inclinations and whose proselytizing methods are deliberately of high public visibility promises to be a dramatic encounter. This thesis shows how ISKCON, a global NRM, has had to undertake specific performative strategies in response to constraints imposed by the state so as to enlarge its social and physical space and adjust its proselytization methods to gain acceptance in Singapore. It also illustrates the limited fluidity that religious movements, particularly NRMs in Singapore enjoy and the rigid core values of the state borne from the desire for economic development and social order.
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses (Open)

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