Intangible Cultural Heritage for UNESCO Listing Article Analysis Paper

Question (100 marks)

Read the article, ‘NDR 2018: Singapore to nominate hawker culture as “intangible cultural heritage” for UNESCO listing’, 19 August 2018 (available via

Singapore has lodged a bid to have its ‘hawker culture’ included in Unesco’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Apply a sociological lens to this endeavour involving hawker culture, to analyse ‘culture’ in Singapore.

Use the following to guide your analysis: In light of your course readings about multiracialism, culture and ethnicity, * what is the place of ‘hawker culture’ within Singapore society? Why does it appear to have garnered official interest and acknowledgement as an immutable part of Singapore heritage, culture and society only recently? * what conceptual understandings of ‘culture’, ‘race’ and/or ‘ethnicity’ are useful in explaining the above situation surrounding our hawker culture in Singapore? Do you agree that ‘hawker culture’ is (Singaporean) culture? * are there limits to the way culture and a multiracial/multicultural Singapore have been talked about previously?

Student notes

For this assignment, you should demonstrate a basic understanding of the arguments put forth in Study Unit 2, Chapter 3. You may also derive insights from other chapters (e.g. Chapter 5). Additional reading/research, only if needed, can be done from both academic and news databases in the SUSS library’s e-resources (JSTOR, Sage Sociology collection, SOCIndex for academic resources; Factiva for news). In addition, you may find out more about the above event from recent news reports.

Using evidence from the readings, the TMA aims to allow you to develop an understanding of the different conceptual approaches toward understanding culture, race and ethnicity, and to think critically about what constitutes Singapore culture, while questioning the way culture, multiracialism and/or multiculturalism have been talked about in the past.

In your answer, you should consider (but are not limited to) some of the following ideas, as you will find them helpful: 1. The sociological concepts ‘culture’, ‘race’ and ‘ethnicity’ versus how these have generally been used and handled in Singapore, according to Benjamin (1976) 2. Singapore’s specific brand and management of ‘multiracialism’ as the state’s ‘top-down’ nation-building; the official model of multiracialism (multiculturalism) 3. Singapore’s history as a plural society

It is important that you utilise the material and arguments from the course materials for your assignment, and that you ensure you demonstrate a sound sociological understanding of this issue. Be sure to refer to the article stated in the question.

Write your answers in 1,500 words. Please remember to provide the word count, and list of references. Be sure to use appropriate academic sources, including your course materials.