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Asian internationalism: Bandung's echo in a colonial metropolis

By Sunil S. Amrith


This paper argues that two conflicting discourses of internationalism stood in uneasy counterpoint and contention in the Asian arena of the 1950s, reflected in the legacies of the Bandung conference. The first drew on a language of global citizenship and rights. The second saw the international system as a source of strength and support for state sovereignty, and state-directed programmes of national development. The remainder of the paper uses the case of late-colonial Singapore to examine the intersection of these two discourses of internationalism. An Asian internationalism, which spanned to include Africa over the course of the 1950s, became one of a stock of narratives that made Singapore's 'everyday cosmopolitanism' possible, in the worlds of the hawkers, the dockworkers and the agriculturalists. The political aspirations of these groups were sacrificed, ultimately, to the goal of disciplined national development, supported by an international order that had closed in to defend the interests of state power

Topics: hca
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
Year: 2005
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