Embodying colonial discourses : vagrancy in interwar Singapore (1914-1941)
Lee, Linus Jian Wei
Date of Issue2017-03-24
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
The meaning of vagrancy has changed over time and space. By using the body as a method of analysis, this thesis looks into specific shift in colonial attitude towards vagrancy. This thesis argues that a shift occurred in the interwar period. From 1915 onwards, the management of vagrancy functioned as a form of biopolitics whereby the biological processes of vagrants determined colonial citizenry. Such a process was also discursive. Colonial authorities inscribed identities onto the bodies of vagrants in order to make these bodies amenable to colonial order and control. However, the embodied experiences of vagrants told a different stories. Vagrants were able to exercise their personal agency to render such colonial order and control tenuous.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University