chapter  8
16 Pages

Resistance and defiance: the revenge of the middle-class artist

One of the most perplexing and persistent questions in the study of Singapore society is the role of the middle class in political change. It is de rigueur for classical western theories of political evolution to argue that, in light of the European historical experience, the emergence of an urban and educated middle class will lead to calls for democracy. The clear absence of such calls in Singapore not only raises questions over the political character of the Singaporean middle class but has also become the proverbial pebble in the shoe of grand theories such as the modernization paradigm perspective of the 1960s that took a linear view of historical progress and suggested that democracy and capitalism were the evolutionary goals of modernity (Rostow 1960); a view that was later taken up and given a neo-Hegelian interpretation by Fukuyama (1992).