Reviewing Barr’s The Ruling Elite of Singapore

JCA has a long interest in Singapore. For a time, the journal was banned by the Lee Kuan Yew regime. The late Malcolm Caldwell, a former editor, was threatened with legal sanctions for comments on LKY and was reportedly banned from Singapore. We have regularly published critical articles on Singapore, increasingly by Singaporean and Singapore-based scholars.

Garry Rodan, who is an Australian Professorial Fellow and Professor of Politics & International Studies with the Asia Research Centre at Murdoch University, has reviewed an important book for JCA. Rodan is an acknowledged expert on Singapore’s domestic politics.

BarrMichael D. Barr’s The Ruling Elite of Singapore. Networks of Power and Influence, explores the complex networks of power in Singapore. He argues that the contemporary networks of power are a deliberate elite project.

Rodan’s review of this book acknowledges that it is a “comprehensive and dedicated study of the structures and dynamics of Singapore’s ruling elite has long been a conspicuous but understandable absence from the literature on the city-state’s politics.” His view is the important: “Undoubtedly, then, this is an important book that all serious scholars and students of Singapore politics and society need to engage with. The insights it offers about the mechanisms and ideologies of elite power networks are many. Details in support of key observations and analyses are presented in an interesting style that makes the book an enjoyable read.”

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