Lynette J. ChuaMobilizing Gay Singapore: Rights and Resistance in an Authoritarian State

Temple University Press, 2014

by Nick Cheesman on October 15, 2014

Lynette J. Chua

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Singapore has a well-deserved reputation as a state that stifles dissent and polices activism. But as Lynette Chua shows in Mobilizing Gay Singapore: Rights and Resistance in an Authoritarian State (Temple University Press, 2014), repressive government nowhere goes unchallenged, even if the forms that resistance takes are not manifest. Turning away from social movement theory that tends to valorize public protest and other forms of highly visible contentious politics, Chua tells another story: a story of contingent, incremental gains through strategic adaptation; a story of “pragmatic resistance” to authoritarianism.

Mobilizing Gay Singapore is a highly readable and finely researched account of how a contemporary political movement has emerged and grown in a small Asian state, yet it is a book with a bigger story to tell about the beginnings and progress of social movements in difficult circumstances.

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