[Abstract] Transnational Utopia: A Diaspora Manifesto

Abstract from Singapore Dreaming Conference presentation by Eunice Seng

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In a 2005 essay titled “Utopia or Euphoria: Six Sites of Resistance in Disneyland and Singapore,” I endeavoured to uncover, through a comparative analysis of Disneyland and Singapore, the liberating possibilities within the everyday lived realities of these spaces. Examining six utopian sites within Singapore as real and imagined spaces that were produced during the nationalising process, I argued that despite their totalising tendencies, there are recuperative spaces within that make them still desirable places to visit and to dwell in. A decade later, in light of the global exigencies that have permeated our everyday existence – the conflicts over natural resources, labor, territory and the renewed cries for democracy and social political emancipation – this essay revisits these six utopias and their other spaces from a diaspora position. It attempts to sketch the constellation of spaces, identities and vectors produced and reproduced by the media (especially news and online social media). Extending the notions of transnational identification and “flexible citizenship” as economic imperative into the social, political and virtual, it argues for the agency of the collectives and individuals that are not bounded by the geographical confines of home and nation.

Not to be reused without permission from Asian Urban Lab

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