Singapore University of Social Sciences

Singapore Society

Singapore Society (SOC205)

Applications Open: 01 October 2021

Applications Close: 15 December 2021

Next Available Intake: January 2022

Course Types: Modular Undergraduate Course

Language: English

Duration: 6 months

Fees: To be confirmed

Area of Interest: Humanities & Social Sciences

Schemes: Lifelong Learning Credit (L2C)

Funding: To be confirmed

School/Department: School of Humanities & Behavioural Sciences


Singapore’s transformation as a “developing country” that is now part of the “First World” has often been considered exemplary. However, the island-city-nation-state also represents an exceptional case. In attempting to understand Singapore as a ‘society’ and Singaporeans as a ‘people’, we first trace its historical roots in pre-modern Southeast Asia and its evolution as a port city and British colony. Against the backdrop of the politics of decolonization, we examine the formation of Singapore as a nation-state, especially the impact of state-led modernization in shaping everyday life and social development. In so doing, we analyze the interrelationships between political rule, economic structure, and cultural change. In particular, we focus on themes such as globalization, nation-building and citizenship, ethnicity, language and religion, population planning and the family, class and gender, and civil society.

Level: 2
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: Every semester


  • Singapore Society as a field of study: Introduction and Singapore in historical perspective
  • Making of modern Singapore: Nationhood, nation-building, nationalisation; state-led modernisation
  • Culture, family and gender: Ethnicity, language and politics of identity; family and gender relations
  • Religion and the secular state: Religious diversity and changes in religious affiliation
  • Social divisions and everyday life: social divisions, mobility, consumption
  • Civil society and Singapore society from a holistic perspective

Learning Outcome

  • Demonstrate both an analytical and holistic knowledge of Singapore as a society: its past, present and future
  • Discuss Singapore’s transformation from colony to nation-state and its current challenges
  • Recognize the significance of historical legacies in understanding contemporary Singapore
  • Differentiate between the sociological concepts of a ‘society’, ‘nation-state’, ‘culture’ or a ‘people’.
  • Analyze the interrelationships between polity, economy, culture, and social structure in Singapore
  • Discuss Singapore’s current challenges and new developments in light of historical legacies and precedents
  • Examine the logic of policy thinking and the efficacy of policy responses to contemporary issues
  • Question aspects of everyday life and social change in relation to politics and social structure by cultivating intellectual curiosity about these
  • Illustrate views that are both theoretically grounded and empirically grounded
  • Develop independent and critical thinking in questioning conventional wisdom, especially in light of new challenges
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