Advanced

Manoeuvring the middle ground: Social mobility and the renegotiation of gender and family obligations among Chinese Singaporeans

Göransson, Kristina LU (2013) In Norwegian Journal of Geography 67(4). p.249-258
Abstract
The article examines Singaporeans' experiences of upward social mobility and how traditional gender roles within the family are renegotiated and reinterpreted in Singapore. When the former British colony gained independence in 1965 its post-colonial government embarked on an ambitious modernization programme, under which villages were demolished and residents relocated to new high-rise estates, farmland gave way to factories, the education system was reformed, and women entered the workforce. The transformation has been accompanied by a rapid upward social mobility, whereby Singaporeans born in the midst of the transformation, in the period 1960s – 1980s, lived remarkably different lives compared with preceding generations. The article is... (More)
The article examines Singaporeans' experiences of upward social mobility and how traditional gender roles within the family are renegotiated and reinterpreted in Singapore. When the former British colony gained independence in 1965 its post-colonial government embarked on an ambitious modernization programme, under which villages were demolished and residents relocated to new high-rise estates, farmland gave way to factories, the education system was reformed, and women entered the workforce. The transformation has been accompanied by a rapid upward social mobility, whereby Singaporeans born in the midst of the transformation, in the period 1960s – 1980s, lived remarkably different lives compared with preceding generations. The article is an ethnographic analysis of how Singaporean middle-class women and men, who have experienced rapid upward social mobility, handle and negotiate changing expectations regarding gender and intergenerational support. The analytical framework is constructed around the concepts of social mobility, modernity, and spaces of contestation and negotiation. The ethnographic data illuminate how traditional family values, such as filial piety, are contested and renegotiated. The data also show how social mobility intersects with other forms of mobility, such as the spatial movement involved in urbanization. Women entering the labour force have to spend their days away from home and can no longer fully attend to their elderly family members and/or young children. However, spatial movement in the sense of increased access to transportation and communication has also enabled members of extended families to maintain their ‘urban kinship network’ without having to live together. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
family obligations, gender, modernity, Singapore, social mobility
in
Norwegian Journal of Geography
volume
67
issue
4
pages
249 - 258
publisher
Taylor & Francis
external identifiers
  • wos:000324851200008
  • scopus:84885103082
ISSN
1502-5292
DOI
10.1080/00291951.2013.836680
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
edb764a2-8468-412b-8412-e0d58a010ab1 (old id 4075424)
date added to LUP
2016-04-01 10:12:04
date last changed
2020-01-05 05:11:22
@article{edb764a2-8468-412b-8412-e0d58a010ab1,
  abstract     = {The article examines Singaporeans' experiences of upward social mobility and how traditional gender roles within the family are renegotiated and reinterpreted in Singapore. When the former British colony gained independence in 1965 its post-colonial government embarked on an ambitious modernization programme, under which villages were demolished and residents relocated to new high-rise estates, farmland gave way to factories, the education system was reformed, and women entered the workforce. The transformation has been accompanied by a rapid upward social mobility, whereby Singaporeans born in the midst of the transformation, in the period 1960s – 1980s, lived remarkably different lives compared with preceding generations. The article is an ethnographic analysis of how Singaporean middle-class women and men, who have experienced rapid upward social mobility, handle and negotiate changing expectations regarding gender and intergenerational support. The analytical framework is constructed around the concepts of social mobility, modernity, and spaces of contestation and negotiation. The ethnographic data illuminate how traditional family values, such as filial piety, are contested and renegotiated. The data also show how social mobility intersects with other forms of mobility, such as the spatial movement involved in urbanization. Women entering the labour force have to spend their days away from home and can no longer fully attend to their elderly family members and/or young children. However, spatial movement in the sense of increased access to transportation and communication has also enabled members of extended families to maintain their ‘urban kinship network’ without having to live together.},
  author       = {Göransson, Kristina},
  issn         = {1502-5292},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {249--258},
  publisher    = {Taylor & Francis},
  series       = {Norwegian Journal of Geography},
  title        = {Manoeuvring the middle ground: Social mobility and the renegotiation of gender and family obligations among Chinese Singaporeans},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00291951.2013.836680},
  doi          = {10.1080/00291951.2013.836680},
  volume       = {67},
  year         = {2013},
}