Title

Music and Moral Geographies: Constructions of "Nation" and Identity in Singapore

Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2-2006

Abstract

In this paper, I attempt to pull together sociological and geographical perspectives in the study of music to understand the ways in which pop and rock music are socio-cultural products with political and moral meanings and implications. I examine state engineering of moral panics, focusing on a case study of pop and rock music in post-independence Singapore. Such engineering is aimed at political and ideological ends, in particular, "nation"- building outcomes. In engineering moral panics through both discursive and legislative acts, the contours of a moral geography are delineated at various spatial scales. First, at the scale of the national and global, moral geographies are inscribed by the state, with the demarcation of national boundaries as the boundaries within which morality resides and beyond which belong negative decadent forces. Second, at the scale of the local and everyday, moral geographies are constructed in terms of certain nightspots, which are thought to be morally damaging, and to be contained. Third, at the spatial scale of the individual self, the body becomes the site of moral judgement. Through the policing of all these scales, moral geographies contribute to the construction of desired "Singaporean" identities. Inasmuch as geographies are inscribed with moralities, so too music. The "new" "western" sounds of particular historical times, and more especially, the performative aspects of music embodying the sensual and the violent, are imputed with moral meaning. © Springer 2006.

Keywords

Moral panics, Nation-building, Pop music, Rock music, Singapore, Western music

Discipline

Asian Studies | Human Geography

Research Areas

Humanities

Publication

GeoJournal

Volume

65

Issue

1-2

First Page

103

Last Page

111

ISSN

0343-2521

Identifier

10.1007/s10708-006-0013-1

Publisher

Springer Verlag

Additional URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10708-006-0013-1