Singapore’s Small State Domestic Peacemaking: “Quiet Under the Banyan Tree”

  • Alan ChongEmail author


Singapore’s governing methods have often been attributed in political science literature to a stock authoritarianism. This has artificially produced social and political peace at home and perhaps towards its neighbors. This chapter argues that there is an indigenous syncretic formula. Local political philosophies have produced a durable imperfect peace through the practice of the following principles: enlightened paternalism; the use of strategically ambiguous language; and the pursuit of accommodation through abridged democracy. In this sense, sociopolitical peace is operationalized as a situation of avoiding the excesses of liberal political competition while embracing a paternalistic modernization. This paternalism will be explained via the “Banyan Tree” analogy. The Singapore case speaks to the lacuna in small state political science literature pertaining to domestic insecurity and peacebuilding.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.S. Rajaratnam School of International StudiesNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

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