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Relocating Politics at the Gateway: Everyday Life in Singapore's Global Schoolhouse

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Over the past 20 years, Singaporean state authorities have increasingly presented the city-state as a gateway between East and West. In the education sector, the Global Schoolhouse project represents a state platform for the gateway concept. It functions as a strategic business project that allows for state authorities to not only profit from the international education business but to meet national objectives, notably in terms of recruiting foreign talent to fuel local industries. As part of Singapore's move towards biculturalism, the Global Schoolhouse platform tends, however, to limit state understanding of Chinese culture in Singapore, which is becoming gradually more China-centric and homogenous. In light of Michel de Certeau's work, it is my contention that new light can be shed on Singapore's Global Schoolhouse based on how people in their everyday lives appropriate and contest this state construction of a gateway. By sharing the stories of two individuals involved in Singapore's Global Schoolhouse, it will be stressed that the significance of gateway initiatives in international matters can be better framed through the particular trajectories of people living at the gateway. In their everyday lives, people connect state initiatives to various transnational and local social processes no matter what the state objectives may be. They give particular meaning to initiatives like the Global Schoolhouse and show us how they relate to other dimensions of their lives, notably by incorporating them into transnationalized household strategies of survival.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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