Anthropology and Singapore

"We don't need anthropology, because there are no primitive people in Singapore." - Anon.

I have been told that this was once a reason given for the fact that there is little instutional recognition of anthropology at NUS. I would like to develop this page a collaborative essay under the following headings:

Does Anthropology have a role to play in Singapore?

Are there examples of anthropology in Singapore?

The case against Anthropology in Singapore

*In many places, anthropology has been considered a 'colonial social science' and a study of primitives. As social sciences developed outside of colonial, Euro-American powers (e.g. Britian, the United States), many 'natives' rejected the label "anthropology" (often in favor of "sociology"; such as M.N. Srinivas (1916-1999) one of the founders of Indian sociology and - it has been said... documentation needed - one time lecturer at NUS). Rejecting "anthropology" as the study of primitives, in favor of sociology as the study of 'modern societies' may be one of the reasons anthropology has not thrived in Singapore.

*Anthropology may be seen as a "luxury" unfit to a struggling, developing nation, which must attend to the immediate needs of its citizens (as pointed out by devlinmohyong; see discussion).

More pages