Approaches to Managing Ethnoreligious Diversity: the Case of the City-State Singapore

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The article examines the problem of finding an appropriate power-sharing model for a divided society with cleavages along religious, linguistic, cultural and ethnic lines. Two key approaches to the institutional management of ethnoreligious diversity, consociationalism and centripetalism, are studied. The theoretical framework then applied to the city-state Singapore, a secular nation-state with a dominant ethnic group. The article states that the individual ethno-religious segments aware of their socio-political role can not be detected in the nation-state, whose citizens lack clear ethnic and religious identification, as a result of the “culturally neutral citizenship” concept application. The authors conclude that a centripetalist approach can theoretically be applicable to Singapore as the role of the unifying centre is played by the PAP, representing all ethnic groups and religions. However, the city-state could be threatened by conflicts between different segments due to religious self-radicalization, and these conflicts could be prevented through the use of consociational mechanisms.

About the authors

Ilya R. Lavrov

Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) MGIMO University

Author for correspondence.
76, Prospekt Vernadskogo, Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation

undergraduate student of the School of Governance and Politics

Oxana G. Kharitonova

Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) MGIMO University

76, Prospekt Vernadskogo, Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation

Associate Professor of Comparative Politics in MGIMO University, a member of professional bodies: Russian Political Science Association (RPSA), Russian International Studies Association (RISA), International Political Science Association (IPSA)


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Copyright (c) 2020 Lavrov I.R., Kharitonova O.G.

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