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Singapore Pharmakon

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Taking Derrida's Dissemination and Monolingualism of the Other as points of departure, this paper seeks to inscribe the event of language(s) in Singapore in a time of disease, which has been the untimely dissemination of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) in 2003. As we will show, this event of language(s) can be said to take on an outline of pharmakon, which is both poison and remedy at the same time as Derrida's thesis in Dissemination goes, since the languages that were eventually deployed to save this city-state were the same ones that the State previously tried to banish. Post-SARS, the renewed injunction against these languages has picked up momentum, even though the exceptional situation of SARS has made power come to terms with the fact that these languages are the ones that speak of, and speak to, an immanent community here. We will therefore also show that there is a certain schizophrenic capture or striation of languages in and through political discourse here.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2007

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