BREAD AND CIRCUSES

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Abstract:

While there has been consistent academic interest in the link between the media and politics, this attention has mostly bypassed lifestyle journalism. Yet this can reflect the political and social realities of a country if less clearly than more overtly political coverage. This paper seeks to demonstrate how the Singapore government has used food to help construct a national identity and how the local print media have been a partner in this. It analyses how food has been represented in the Singapore press in relation to attitudes that contribute to nation-building. The findings suggest that the food-related articles studied usually reflected a culture of self-improvement, an ethnic-cultural element and cosmopolitan attitudes, all of which were identified as touchstones of Singapore's government-approved national identity. In addition, there is also marginally more press coverage of cosmopolitan and foreign food compared to local food, in concurrence with government initiatives to place the country as a globalised hub.

Keywords: Singapore; culture; food; government; journalism

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17512786.2011.622892

Publication date: February 1, 2012

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