Globalisation and Singaporean festivals
Matheson, Catherine M.
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Matheson, C., Foley, M. & McPherson, G. (2006) Globalisation and Singaporean festivals, International Journal of Event Management Research, vol. 2, , pp. Jan-16,
This paper seeks to elaborate upon theorisations of the global and their operationalisation within a tourism context by drawing upon empirical research carried out in Singapore. Specifically, Robertson's (1995) glocalisation thesis is drawn to bear upon specific Singaporean tourism policies, namely strategies for events and festivals. The objective of the paper is to offer a rich, deep study of Singapore's tourism and event policy in relation to the impact of globalising influences upon its cultural events, and to elaborate upon both the development of events and festivals within Singapore and the workings of the glocalisation process in this context. The literature accords little space to the relationship between events and festivals and tourism in Singapore and this paper seeks to offer some insights into this under-researched area. This is especially significant given the emphasis upon festivals at a policy level in Singapore and, furthermore, as a means of comprehending the workings of the glocalisation process. Interviews were carried out with six key policy makers in Singapore, and one Director of a private company who delivers events on behalf of the City. We conclude that the prosecution and delivery of policies for tourism generally, and cultural events in particular, in Singapore represent key evidential elements of Robertson's (1995) glocalisation thesis and that these are most evident in the character and development of events. Moreover, it is contended that the relationship between tourism bodies and host communities corroborates claims made by critics of the cultural imperialism thesis and, again, supports Robertson's glocalisation thesis. As Robertson noted, and the findings in the paper demonstrate, globalising influences are not in opposition to the local manifestation of cultural identities in Singapore as there is space for both the local and the global within glocalisation. It is not a relationship whereby culturally imperialistic global forces subsume the local in a culturally homogeneous, unified way.