The Media, Cultural Control and Government in Singapore (Hardback) book cover

The Media, Cultural Control and Government in Singapore

By Terence Lee

© 2010 – Routledge

198 pages

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Paperback: 9780415625494
pub: 2012-03-29
Hardback: 9780415413305
pub: 2010-05-05
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pub: 2010-05-06
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About the Book

This book explores this inherent contradiction present in most facets of Singaporean media, cultural and political discourses, and identifies the key regulatory strategies and technologies that the ruling People Action Party (PAP) employs to regulate Singapore media and culture, and thus govern the thoughts and conduct of Singaporeans.

It establishes the conceptual links between government and the practice of cultural policy, arguing that contemporary cultural policy in Singapore has been designed to shape citizens into accepting and participating in the rationales of government. Outlining the historical development of cultural policy, including the recent expansion of cultural regulatory and administrative practices into the ‘creative industries’, Terence Lee analyzes the attempts by the Singaporean authorities to engage with civil society, the ways in which the media is used to market the PAP’s policies and leadership and the implications of the internet for the practice of governmental control.

Overall, The Media, Cultural Control and Government in Singapore offers an original approach towards the rethinking of the relationship between media, culture and politics in Singapore, demonstrating that the many contradictory discourses around Singapore only make sense once the politics and government of the media and culture are understood.


"This is a carefully crafted, detailed explication of the Singaporean government's powerful effect on Singapore media. Lee (communication and media studies, Murdoch Univ., Australia) provides insights into why the government promotes specific messages to the public and what those messages actually mean when interpreted by those who must comply with governmental expectations… Recommended [for] upper-division undergraduates [and] graduate students." - M. A. Williams-Hawkins, Ball State University; CHOICE, March 2012

"Terence Lee's book is a provocative analysis of twenty-first century Singapore. One of its key strengths is the attempt to apply to a non-liberal-democratic context the perspectives of major theorists such as Foucault and Williams." -- Dr. Cherian George, Nanyang Technological University, South East Asia Research 19:4, (2011)

Table of Contents

1. The Politics of Culture: A Mediated Introduction 2. Cultural Governmentality and Citizenship 3. Administering Culture: Cultural Policy, Regulation and the Creative Industries 4. Gestural Politics: A ‘New’ Civil Society 5. The Internet, Surveillance and Technological Auto-Regulation 6. Media Governmentality and Political Communication 7. Conclusion: Always ‘New’: Governing Contradictions with Consistencies

About the Author

Terence Lee is Chair of Communication and Media Studies in the School of Media Communication and Culture, and Research Fellow of the Asia Research Centre at Murdoch University, Australia. He is the joint editor of Political Regimes and the Media in Asia (Routledge, 2008), and publishes widely on various aspects of media, politics, and culture in Singapore.

About the Series

Media, Culture and Social Change in Asia Series

The aim of this series is to publish original, high-quality work by both new and established scholars in the West and the East, on all aspects of media, culture and social change in Asia. New proposals are welcome, and should be sent in the first instance to the series editor, Stephanie Donald, at

Editorial Board:

  • Gregory N. Evon, University of New South Wales
  • Devleena Ghosh, University of Technology, Sydney
  • Peter Horsfield, RMIT University, Melbourne
  • Chris Hudson, RMIT University, Melbourne
  • K.P. Jayasankar, Unit for Media and Communications, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bombay
  • Michael Keane, Queensland University of Technology
  • Tania Lewis, RMIT University, Melbourne
  • Vera Mackie, University of Melbourne
  • Kama Maclean, University of New South Wales
  • Jane Mills, University of New South Wales
  • Anjali Monteiro, Unit for Media and Communications, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bombay
  • Laikwan Pang, Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Gary Rawnsley, Aberystwyth University
  • Ming-yeh Rawnsley, University of Leeds
  • Jo Tacchi, RMIT University, Mlebourne
  • Adrian Vickers, University of Sydney
  • Jing Wang, MIT
  • Ying Zhu, City University of New York

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Asia / Southeast Asia
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies