Singapore University of Social Sciences

Singapore Society

Singapore Society (SOC205)


Singapore’s transformation from ‘developing country’ to ‘First World’ is often 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, SOC205 Singapore Society first explores 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 decolonisation, we examine the formation of Singapore as a nation-state, especially the impact of state-led modernisation in shaping everyday life and social development. In so doing, we analyse the interrelationships between political rule, economic structure, and cultural change. In particular, we focus on themes such as globalisation; 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 REGULAR SEMESTER


  • Singapore Society as a field of study
  • Singapore in historical perspective
  • Nationhood, nation-building, and nationalisation
  • State-led modernisation
  • Ethnicity, language and politics of identity
  • Religion
  • Meritocracy and education
  • Social inequality
  • Family patterns and gender relations
  • Migration
  • The state and the society
  • The development of civil society

Learning Outcome

  • Demonstrate an analytical and holistic knowledge of Singapore as a society: its past, present, and future
  • Differentiate between the sociological concepts of a society, nation-state, culture or a people
  • Analyse the interrelationships between polity, economy, culture, and social structure in Singapore
  • Apply knowledge and understanding of Singapore society to everyday life
  • Examine the logic of policy and the efficacy of policy responses to contemporary issues
  • Develop independent and critical thinking in questioning conventional wisdom, especially in light of new challenges
Back to top
Back to top