1st Edition

Families, the State and Educational Inequality in the Singapore City-State

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after September 30, 2021
ISBN 9780367646028
September 30, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
168 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations

USD $160.00

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Book Description

Focusing on Singapore’s education system from an equity perspective, Chiong’s book describes the often unheard perspectives of socio-economically disadvantaged families in Singapore. The performance of Singaporean students on international education benchmarking tests has been widely recognised. Relatively less known is how socio-economically disadvantaged families negotiate Singapore’s highly competitive, stratifying and meritocratic system. Yet, families’ perspectives can provide crucial insight in understanding how policy is ‘lived’ and experienced, and its effects on people’s lives.

Drawing on 72 interviews with 12 families, this book traces the development of surprisingly close, collaborative relations between the state, schools and families on Singapore’s socio-economic margins. It demonstrates that in the 'strong' state of Singapore, families’ dependency on schools and the state facilitates the internalisation of individual and familial responsibility for future success. However, these very processes can injure, and perpetuate inequality.

The analysis presented in this book has relevance in other contexts, in times where advanced capitalist states face growing inequalities and challenging relationships between institutional authority and the wider populace. As socio-economic and educational inequalities widen, this book asks timely questions and provides recommendations on what a more equitable state-citizen compact might look like.

The book will appeal to researchers and students who are interested in the fields of the sociology and politics of education, social policy, and Asian culture and society.

Table of Contents

Introduction PART I. MORNING 1. Start of the Day 2. The Ontology of Governance in Singapore PART II. NOON 3. Forming State-Family Relations: a Historical Perspective 4. Responsible Lives: Families as Pedagogic Actors 5. Dependency and the Politics of Expertise PART III. NIGHT 6. Back from Work, or the Start of it 7. The Plausibility of Responsibility Epilogue: When 'Peaceful Coexistence is Not Enough

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Charleen Chiong adopts sociological approaches to understanding inequality and social policy problems. In line with her interests in integrating research, policy and practice, Charleen has undertaken research in academic, think-tank and public sector contexts. Her research has been published in Journal of Education Policy, Comparative Education, Families, Relationships and Societies and the British Educational Research Journal. She holds a PhD in Education from the University of Cambridge, and a Master of Science in Comparative and International Education from the University of Oxford.