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Kenneth Paul Tan (2008) Cinema and Television in Singapore: Resistance in One Dimension (Brill)

Through close readings of contemporary made-in-Singapore films (by Jack Neo, Eric Khoo, and Royston Tan) and television programs (Singapore Idol, sitcoms, and dramas), this book explores the possibilities and limitations of resistance within an advanced capitalist-industrial society whose authoritarian government skillfully negotiates the risks and opportunities of balancing its on-going nation-building project and its “global city” aspirations. This book adopts a framework inspired by Antonio Gramsci that identifies ideological struggles in art and popular culture, but maintains the importance of Herbert Marcuse’s one-dimensional society analysis as theoretical limits to recognize the power of authoritarian capitalism to subsume works of art and popular culture even as they attempt consciously—even at times successfully—to negate and oppose dominant hegemonic formations.


  1. One-Dimensional Singapore

  2. The Culture Industry in Renaissance-City Singapore

  3. Singapore Idol: Consuming Nation and Democracy

  4. Under One Ideological Roof? TV Sitcoms and Drama Series

  5. Imagining the Chinese Community through the Films of Jack Neo

  6. The Tragedy of the Heartlands in the Films of Eric Khoo

  7. The Films of Royston Tan: Local Notoriety, International Acclaim

  8. Conclusion


"... an extremely impressive overview of film and television in Singapore with very strong contextualization in an analysis of the polity, arts culture, and culture industries in Singapore. The author provides a powerful synthesis of Frankfurt School critical theory and British cultural studies to provide an original mapping of Singapore and its key forms of television and film culture. The book is extremely well-written, organized, and argued and … could be a classic on its subject … Drawing on a wealth of critical material, the author provides an insightful mapping of these cultural forms and creators of popular culture in Singapore. The author has a definite talent for providing excellent analysis with detailed reading of cultural texts and producers and a sharp critical eye that appeared very illuminating. These studies are exemplary works of concrete analysis of Singapore film and television."


Douglas Kellner, Distinguished Professor, UCLA

Kenneth Paul Tan (2008) Cinema and Television in Singapore: Resistance in One Dimension (Brill)
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