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Title: The role of religious agency in secularism: a study of Protestant Christianity in Singapore
Authors: Tan, Edwin Choon Boon
Keywords: Social sciences::Political science
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Nanyang Technological University
Source: Tan, E. C. B. (2022). The role of religious agency in secularism: a study of Protestant Christianity in Singapore. Master's thesis, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Abstract: Research on secularism in Singapore has often emphasized a state-centric approach focusing on the management of religion by the state. This is not surprising given the pervasive influence of the authoritarian state in Singapore. Yet, state-centred narratives tend to oversimplify contestations, obscure actual outcomes and overlook the countervailing influence of religion. To better understand the role of religious agency, it is thus necessary to address the oft over-looked question of how religious actors respond to secularism. Using Protestant Christianity in Singapore as a case study, this dissertation argues that religious groups are sophisticated actors able to exercise influence over challenges posed by secularism. In the context of Singapore’s hybrid model of secularism, the accommodationist and separationist strands co-exist in the same state. Both varieties of secularism seek to refashion religion; accommodationist secularism prompts religion to fashion itself in line with national values, while the separationist trajectory tames and even marginalizes religion. By responding with a pragmatic mix of accommodation, adaptation, resistance and co-optation, the Protestant Christian community in Singapore has arguably managed to ameliorate the pressures of secularism, while avoiding direct confrontation with the state.
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:RSIS Theses

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