Harmony as Ideology: The Promotion of Alternative Dispute Resolution in Singapore

Publication Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date



The original impetus for promoting alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in Singapore in the mid-1980s was very much economic. The economic development drive necessitated the establishment of an efficient and effective legal system, complemented by non-litigious modes of dispute resolution, to support the needs of commerce and trade. However, within a decade, ADR had crystallized into a state-endorsed movement, increasingly being made applicable to and promoted in many sectors of Singapore society. The premise for this development is the belief that ADR is in accord with Singapore’s cultural values and can assist in the nation-building quest through the promotion of harmony, cohesion and stability in a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-lingual society. In studying the ADR movement in Singapore, a sense of the values that the state hopes to inculcate would be explored. This paper examines promotion of the ADR sector and considers how successful it has been in reconfiguring dispute resolution processes in Singapore as well as in socially engineering desired values and norms for governance.


Asian Studies | Law and Society | Religion Law

Research Areas

Law, Society and Governance


Law and Society Association Annual Meeting, Baltimore, 6-9 July 2006

City or Country

Baltimore, MD, USA

This document is currently not available here.