Grants
Folklore and Digital Technology in (South) East Asia
Description

Folklore represents ways of thinking, living and being, encompassing traditional beliefs, social networks and the circulation of stories through a variety of channels, digital and analogue. It includes both the living and the dead, connected through networks of different kinds. At its core, is the vernacular and everyday: the quotidian narratives that help sustain networks and make up local culture. This project explores the relationship between folklore and digital technology. The central question of this project is what place, if any, in a time of regional and global integration, technological modernization, and national strategies that extend beyond modernity, folklore has in Southeast Asia and what is its meaning and future trajectory. This leads to the question of what form Southeast Asian folklore takes and its relation to tradition and local knowledge. Our initial contention is that technologies, digital and analogue (such as the mobile phone, the television and the typewriter) occupy the locus of stories and experiences that are antagonistic towards notions of modernity and reason. The project addresses three lines of inquiry.


1. Form and content or the state of folklore: Where is folklore to be found, what is its extent and how it is represented? What are the typologies for folklore, in terms of circulation (e.g. Internet, oral, written), time (e.g. traditional, contemporary), place (e.g. rural, urban), genre (e.g. ghost stories, parables), situatedness (e.g. in conversation), forms of use (e.g. talk), purpose (e.g. to instruct, to preserve) and register (e.g. high culture, vernacular)? How do such digital media and networks relate to folklore (e.g. are they antagonistic)?

2. Context or forces affecting folklore: What factors and forces contribute to the creation and evolution of folklore, what are their consequences and which actors (e.g. the living, digital technology) are implicated?

3. Function with regard to the 'place' of folklore: Cutting across questions (1) and (2), which populations engage with folklore and why? To what extent can folklore be considered a traditional form of knowledge? How are individuals, collectives and societies imagined and sustained through the persistence of folklore and how do digital media and networks play a role? What can such media and networks inform us about how people are conceived, in particular with regard to their mortality?

 

The first line of inquiry is concerned with locating folklore, its forms and its presence and circulation. The second line of inquiry centres on how forces like development and modernisation have impacted the landscape of societies. This question centres on the impact of policies and societal forces and a developing relationship between architectures that have a particular situated meaning. The third line of inquiry probes how folklore can be considered a form of knowledge, cultural form and political commentary and how it is informative about social relations and individual beliefs. It also considers how the convergence of contemporary, interleaving technologies and traditional beliefs represent, envisage and describe people (e.g. as having agency, as being of a certain ethnicity) in relation to folklore. Throughout the three questions we take the position that rather than folklore being located, driven and performed distinctly from digital technologies it is threaded through and transformed through them in a process of mediation and remediation.

 

Investigator(s)
Gregory CLANCEYConnor GRAHAMEric KERR, PHILLIPS John, FISCHER Mike, ABIDIN Crystal, PANG Natalie
Duration
30 September 2016 to 30 May 2018
Making Identity Count in Asia: Identity Relations in Singapore and its Neighborhood
Description

This is a three-year grant commencing in September 2017 awarded by the newly-created Singapore Social Science Research Council. It involves investigating the national identities of all ASEAN countries, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong in 2010 and 2015.  The national identities of these countries will be recovered using discourse analysis of mass and elite texts in each country Singapore will also be a testbed for multiple methodological approaches beyond discourse analysis, including a national survey, focus groups, ethnographies, and an analysis of social media.  Monographs and research articles are planned on the identity relations among these states, between these states and great powers, the national identity projects of these states, as well as on multiple methodological approaches to studying national identity. The project involves NUS faculty from Political Science, Sociology, Southeast Asian Studies, History, as well as from Yale-NUS, SMU, and NTU. The project is related to the Making Identity Count project which aims at creating a large-n interpretivist national identity database for all great powers from 1810-2010. The first publication from that project is Making Identity Count (Oxford 2016).

Investigator(s)
Ted HOPF
Duration
01 September 2017 to 31 August 2020
Migrants in Global Cities: Experiences from Asia, the Gulf and Europe
Description

This international collaborative workshop is convened by the National University of Singapore (Asia Research Institute) and the Université Sorbonne Paris Cité (USPC)’s interdisciplinary program Sociétés Plurielles (Diverse Societies). It aims to bring together scholars working on Asia, the Middle East and Europe with respect to questions of global city making, migration diversity and cosmopolitan urbanities. This collaboration will enrich the understanding of global city-making processes by emphasizing the role played by international migration. It will also develop a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective on how migration impacts cities in the regions mentioned. Questions it seeks to address are:

  • How are they linked through flows of migrants and what motivates the direction of various flows?

  • How are these cities connected with and embedded within migrant transnational networks?

  • What are the benefits of approaching regionally specific happenings in a comparative perspective

(PI)s  Prof Brenda Yeoh and Prof Delphine Pages-El Karoui

Investigator(s)
Brenda YEOH
Duration
02 May 2017 to 30 April 2018
Sustainable Governance of Transboundary Environmental Commons in Southeast Asia
Description

As a small, island city-state, Singapore is closely interconnected, economically, environmentally and politically, with regional neighbours in Southeast Asia.  The resilience and reliability of these interconnections have facilitated economic growth, regional stability and cordial diplomatic relations.  Development benefits in the region have not come without costs, however; rising living standards are associated with increasing rates of resource extraction, reduced environmental quality and impoverishment of biodiversity that have negative ramifications for exposed population groups.  Often the negative environmental impacts are transboundary, impacting populations, activities and environments great distances and in different jurisdictions from the locations of resource extraction.

 This project involves research on transboundary environmental commons in Southeast Asia, with collaborating partners in Singapore, Canada, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos and Indonesia. More specifically the research seeks to:

1) identify the drivers and impacts associated with two major transboundary environmental challenges impacting land, water and atmosphere in Southeast Asia i.e. biomass burning and haze, and hydropower development and water resources;

2) examine these transboundary challenges in the context of the governance of transboundary environmental commons, or common pool resources, within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well as the identification of relevant best practices worldwide; and

3) contribute to environmental sustainability within ASEAN, as well as provide an evidence-based foundation for policy-making and implementation at both national and ASEAN levels that enhances Singapore’s reputation as a responsible neighbour and a leader in sustainability sciences

Awarding Body: Singapore Social Sciences Research Council (SSRC); Grant No: R-395-000-048-120; Timeline: 2017 - 2022

 

Investigator(s)
Jonathan RIGGDavid Taylor
Duration
01 August 2017 to 31 July 2022
Transnational Relations, Ageing and Care Ethics (TRACE)
Description

Our research considers care circulations with a focus on how transnational relations, ageing and care ethics (TRACE) extend across national borders. We investigate how global care circulations mediate experiences of ageing and what this means for transnational relations and care ethics. Increasingly, older adults are moving across national borders to provide care or to receive care; also participating in such care circulations are younger transnational migrants who are family members of those older adults or who have been employed to care for older adults. Study of how ageing is experienced across national borders and through transnationalism remains an underdeveloped field both in terms of empirical research and wider theorisation.

Our TRACE project considers three interrelated aspects of care circulation: (1) grandparenting migration; (2) caring for the aged and the left-behind care chains of foreign carers; and (3) retirement migration. The project focuses on Singapore as a hub where the logics of care mediate migration inflows and outflows, connecting the country to regional sites of care such as Myanmar and China, which we have identified for study. Our project also sets Singapore in international comparative perspective with Australia, which experiences similar care-mediated migration trends that connect the country to China. This project thus considers regional care connections as well as international comparisons of ageing and care.

We combine qualitative research methods with GIS analysis and visualisation to spatially depict and deepen understanding of ageing. Our mixed methods approach enables the project to integrate analyses of micro-mobility and macro-mobility, developing a grounded understanding of care relations that is useful for (re)conceptualising care ethics in transnational contexts

Investigators: Elaine Lynn-Ee Ho, Shirlena Huang, Thang Leng Leng and Brenda Yeoh

Investigator(s)
Elaine Lynn-Ee HO
Duration
02 January 2018 to 01 January 2021
Transnationalism and Diaspora: Enhancing demography’s contribution to migration and development
Description

The replacement of permanent movements by transnationalism as the dominant paradigm in migration studies has raised new questions for demographic measurement and study of migration. This study rethinks demographic concepts of population and migration to incorporate elements such as diaspora, circular migration, and transnational linkages. It shows how use of traditional demographic data with integrated quantitative and qualitative research can yield important insights into diaspora, in particular, the diaspora–migration–development nexus. Four country case studies are undertaken to increase understanding of the characteristics of diasporas, their international linkages, and their potential for enhancing development in origin countries.

Investigator(s)
Brenda YEOH, Andrew Rosser, Fei Guo, Yan Tan
Duration
01 June 2017 to 31 December 2020