Virtual Activism: Sexuality, the Internet, and a Social Movement in Singapore

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University of Toronto Press, 2020 - Social Science - 180 pages

In Virtual Activism: Sexuality, the Internet, and a Social Movement in Singapore, cultural anthropologist Robert Phillips provides a detailed, yet accessible, ethnographic case study that looks at the changes in LGBT activism in Singapore in the period 1993-2019. Based on extensive fieldwork conducted with activist organizations and individuals, Phillips illustrates key theoretical ideas - including illiberal pragmatics and neoliberal homonormativity - that, in combination with the introduction of the Internet, have shaped the manner by which LGBT Singaporeans are framing and subsequently claiming rights.

Phillips argues that the activism engaged in by LGBT Singaporeans for governmental and societal recognition is in many respects virtual. His analysis documents how the actions of activists have resulted in some noteworthy changes in the lives of LGBT Singaporeans, but nothing as grand as some would have hoped, thus indexing the "not quite" aspect of the virtual. Yet, Virtual Activism also demonstrates how these actions have encouraged LGBT Singaporeans to fight even harder for their rights, signalling the "possibilities" that the virtual holds.

 

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Contents

1 Little Earthquakes
3
2 The Spectral Homosexual and the Singaporean Media
23
3 Reimagining the Nation Online
42
4 The Internet and a New Public Sphere
68
5 Pushing the Boundaries in the Physical World
89
6 The Illiberal Pragmatics of Activism
115
7 Epilogue
127
Timeline of Events
131
Notes
133
References
141
Index
155
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About the author (2020)

Robert Phillips is an assistant professor of anthropology at Ball State University.

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