This book examines the relationship between population policies and individual reproductive decisions in low-fertility contexts. Using the case study of Singapore, it demonstrates that the effectiveness of population policy is a function of competing notions of citizenship, and the gap between seemingly neutral policy incentives and the perceived and experienced disparate effects.
Drawing on a substantial number of personal interviews and focus groups, the book analyzes the developmental welfare state’s overarching emphasis of citizen responsibility, and examines population policies that reinforce social inequalities and ignore cultural diversity. These factors combine to undermine elaborate state policy efforts in encouraging citizens’ biological reproduction. The book goes on to argue that in order to facilitate positive fertility decisions, the state needs to modify the “economic production at all cost” approach and pay much more attention to the importance of social rights. This suggests that the Singapore government might profitably approach the phenomenon of very low fertility with major initiatives similar to those of other advanced industrialized societies. This book offers a significant contribution to the literature on social policy, East Asian and Southeast Asian studies.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Making Future Citizens 2. Low Fertility and Pronatalist Policies 3. Economic Development, Social Investments, and Population Control 4. Class Differentiated Pronatalism 5. Privileging the Citizen-Worker 6. Constructing Children’s Multi-dimensional Qualities 7. Conclusion
Shirley Hsiao-Li Sun is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Her main research interests are population studies, social inequalities, citizenship and immigration, economic development and social reproduction, and science and technology.
"Population Policy and Reproduction in Singapore: Making Future Citizens urges us to rethink the most difficult questions of pronatalist policy, and to create a more intensive dialogue between state and citizens for the sake of successful policy." - Irina Kalabikhina, Lomonosov Moscow State University; Journal of Population Studies, No. 44, June 2012
"This is an indispensable book, not only for those seeking to understand population policy in Singapore but for anyone concerned about what kinds of policies can stem the decline of birth rates throughout the world. It displays a remarkable mastery of the field. Sun demonstrates the ability to ask the right questions, develop an effective and appropriate methodology and provide answers. One looks forward to Sun’s continued research in the field of population policy." - Steven Philip Kramer, Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University
"Sun’s book convincingly establishes the advantages of qualitative research in the field of population studies. Overall, the book makes an important contribution to the analysis of population policy and reproduction in low-fertility contexts, and will thus be of interest to researchers concerned with these issues in Singapore and beyond. It will also be useful and informative reading for policy-makers. It is my hope that Sun’s book will encourage other researchers to engage various aspects of reproduction and family formation using qualitative methods." - Kristina Göransson, School of Social Work, Lund University, newasiabooks.org 2013.