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Consumption, Cities and States


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A wide-ranging comparative study of the interrelationship between consumption, citizenship and the state in the context of globalization in Asia and the West.

In ‘Consumption, Cities and States: Comparing Singapore with Asian and Western Cities’, Ann Brooks and Lionel Wee focus on the interrelationship of consumption, citizenship and the state in the context of globalization, calling for greater emphasis to be placed on the citizen as consumer. While it is widely recognized that citizenship is increasingly defined by ‘gradations of esteem’, where different kinds of rights and responsibilities accrue to different categories and subcategories of ‘citizens’, not enough analytical focus has been given to how the status of being a citizen impacts the individual’s consumption. The interface between citizen status and consumer activity is a crucial point of analysis in light of the neoliberal assertion that individuals and institutions perform at their best within a free market economy, and because of the state’s expectations regarding citizens’ rights and responsibilities as consumers not just as producers. In this remarkable comparative study, the authors examine these relationships across a number of cities in both Asia and the West.

Acknowledgements; Introduction; Chapter 1: Consumption, Reflexivity and Citizenship in Global Cities; Chapter 2: Orders of Reflexivity; Chapter 3: Rescaling for Competitiveness; Chapter 4: The Dynamics of State–Society Negotiations; Chapter 5: (De-)Regulating Asian Identities: Comparing Asian Cities and States; Chapter 6: Citizenship, Reflexivity and the State: Investigating ‘Defensive Engagement’ in a City-State; Chapter 7: Governing the Citizen-Consumer: Citizenship, Casinos and ‘Cathedrals of Consumption’; Chapter 8: Regulating Consumption and the ‘Pink Dollar’; Chapter 9: States as ‘Midwives’ to Cities: Cosmopolitanism, Citizenship and Consumption in the Modern State; References; Index



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Published 15 May 2014
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EAN13 9781783082377
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Consumption, Cities and States
Key Issues in Modern Sociology Series
Anthem’sKey Issues in Modern Sociologyseries publishes scholarly texts by leading social theorists that give an accessible exposition of the major structural changes in modern societies. These volumes address an academic audience through their relevance and scholarly quality, and connect sociological thought to public issues. The series covers both substantive and theoretical topics, and addresses the works of major modern sociologists. Its emphasis is on modern developments in sociology with relevance to contemporary issues such as globalization, warfare, citizenship, human rights, environmental crises, demographic change, religion, postsecularism and civil conflict.
Series Editor
Bryan S. Turner – City University of New York, USA, and Australian Catholic University, Australia
Editorial Board
Thomas Cushman – Wellesley College, USA Rob Stones – University of Western Sydney, Australia Richard Swedberg – Cornell University, USA Stephen Turner – University of South Florida, USA Darin Weinberg – University of Cambridge, UK
Consumption, Cities and States
Comparing Singapore with Asian and Western Cities
Ann Brooks and Lionel Wee
Anthem Press An imprint of Wimbledon Publishing Company www.anthempress.com
This edition first published in UK and USA 2014 by ANTHEM PRESS 75–76 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8HA, UK or PO Box 9779, London SW19 7ZG, UK and 244 Madison Ave #116, New York, NY 10016, USA
Copyright © 2014 Ann Brooks and Lionel Wee
The moral right of the authors has been asserted.
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
British Library CataloguinginPublication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
Library of Congress CataloginginPublication Data A catalog record for this book has been requested.
ISBN-13: 978 1 78308 226 1 (Hbk) ISBN-10: 1 78308 226 7 (Hbk)
Cover photo: aphotostory/Shutterstock.com
This title is also available as an ebook.
Chapter 1.
Chapter 2. Chapter 3. Chapter 4. Chapter 5.
Chapter 6.
Chapter 7.
Chapter 8. Chapter 9.
References Index
Consumption, Reflexivity and Citizenship in Global Cities Orders of Reflexivity Rescaling for Competitiveness The Dynamics of State–Society Negotiations
(De-)Regulating Asian Identities: Comparing Asian Cities and States
Citizenship, Reflexivity and the State: Investigating ‘Defensive Engagement’ in a City-State
Governing the Citizen-Consumer: Citizenship, Casinos and ‘Cathedrals of Consumption’
Regulating Consumption and the ‘Pink Dollar’
States as ‘Midwives’ to Cities: Cosmopolitanism, Citizenship and Consumption in the Modern State
vii ix
1 19 37 53
107 131
173 189
The authors would like to acknowledge the support of a number of individuals in this project. Ann Brooks was supported by a six-month Asia Research Institute (ARI) senior visiting research fellowship at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Lionel Wee and Ann Brooks were supported by a grant from the NUS toward the production of the book. Both authors are immensely grateful for this support, without which the book would not have been possible. We would particularly like to thank Professor Prasenjit Duara, director of the ARI and Raffles professor of humanities and director of research for humanities and social sciences in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the NUS, for his immense support of the project. We would also like to acknowledge the support of the migration cluster leader and dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Professor Brenda Yeoh. In addition the entire administrative team at the ARI were immensely supportive. A special thanks to Jonathan Lee from the ARI team for his assistance in designing the front cover of the book. Both authors wish to acknowledge the encouragement of Bryan Turner in suggesting Anthem Press to us. At Anthem our editor Rob Reddick and the entire team at Anthem have been excellent and made the production process effortless.
In this book we analyze the intersection of consumption and rights within the context of different states and cities in Asia and the West. We focus on the concept of the global city and consider a range of contested understandings within this concept. We are interested in the cultural economy and political economy of the global city set in the context of globalization. Stevenson (2013, 38) notes, ‘In “wealthy nations” such as Japan, Australia, and those of North America and Western Europe, between 72 and 95 percent of the population lives in cities, whereas in Africa and Asia, the percentage is 38 and 41, respectively.’ Despite the figure for Asia, what is clear is that global cities are becoming the hallmark of growth in Asia. A key factor in the growth of cities globally in late modernity is neoliberalism. Theoretical debates around neoliberalism are thus explored in the chapters of this book. Stevenson observes that ‘Neoliberalism is also implicated in the increasing spatial division and fragmentation that is evident in cities around the world. Of significance is a deepening of the inequitable distribution of urban resources, which although taking a number of forms, is perhaps most highly visible in residential segregation’ (Stevenson 2013, 26). Different cities offer different insights, and we draw on the Asian city-state of Singapore as an exemplar of an aspiring global city. Singapore is of particular interest because it also serves as a model for many other cities and states with aspirations toward global city status (see Chua 2011). To provide a more comprehensive analysis we also draw on a range of cities in Asia and in the West to highlight parallels and divergences. Secondly, cities also exist as part of states. This then raises the further question of whether it might be at all feasible to attempt an exploration of the politics of global city aspirations without taking into account the relationships between cities and states. In this introductory chapter we briefly outline our thoughts on these issues in order to provide some background to thebook.
Ranking Cities
Cities have long been the subject of rankings. A report in the 1990s by the London Planning Advisory Committee maintained that only London, Tokyo, New York and Paris could legitimately claim to be world-class cities, while other world cities such as Milan, Frankfurt, Berlin and Hong Kong could be considered as being in the process of pursuing this elite label. There are a number of other reports that have also produced contemporary rankings of global cities. The Globalization and World Cities Research Network, based in Loughborough University in the United Kingdom (http://www.lboro.ac.uk/gawc/projects/projec71.html, accessed 18 July 2013), ‘has developed an influential classificatory system that ranks cities in groups. […] According to the criteria employed, two cities (London and New York) receive the highest Alpha++ rating with eight (Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, Sydney, Milan, Hong Kong and Paris) being ranked as Alpha+’ (Stevenson 2013, 124). An Asian research institute (the Institute for Urban Strategies) in Japan has produced another kind of ranking model called the Global Power City Index, which ‘ranks major cities of the world according to their comprehensive power to attract creative people and excellent companies from around the world amidst an environment of increasingly strong urban competition worldwide’ (Institute for Urban Strategies 2010, 1). Based on this index, the top four cities globally in rank order are New York, London, Paris and Tokyo. What is becoming clear from a range of surveys is a marked shift in global economic power from West to East. This is confirmed by the Knight Frank Global Cities Survey (2011), which predicts that ‘New York and London will continue to occupy the top two spots on the list but Paris will drop to ninth and the “gap” between the two top cities and the rest will close considerably. And where the 2010 survey has two Asian cities (Tokyo and Beijing) in the top ten, there are six in the 2020 forecast (Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, Mumbai, Hong Kong and Singapore)’ (Stevenson 2013, 125).
States and Cities
The emergence of the concept of the global city is linked in economic terms with the move from an international to a global economy (see Amin and Thrift 1992, 2008). As Stevenson (2013, 123) indicates and as we show below, ‘In this respect, Saskia Sassen’s (1991) characterization of global cities as the “command centers” of the global economy and the associated empirical focus on transnational networks of business and finance have been influential in setting the research agenda.’