Singaporean Authoritarianism

Powerful Essays
Thomsen, Green, and Sidanius (2008) examined how social dominance orientation (SDO) and right-wing authoritarianism (RWA) might drive ethnic persecution. Given that SDO and RWA have different motivational sources, the kind of behaviour that drives ethnic persecution may also differ for people high in SDO and people high in RWA. Specifically, dominators are more likely to adopt the worldview that the world is competitive, endorses hierarchical intergroup relations, and is likely to enforce the hierarchical status quo, while authoritarians are concerned with social conformity to ingroup norms. According to status boundary enforcement hypothesis, social dominators will be more likely to display outgroup aggression when immigrants (subordinate…show more content…
That being said, it is inaccurate to say that there is an absence of negative sentiments towards foreigners in Singapore. From personal experience, however, prejudice towards foreigners differ qualitatively, at least in the working generation of Singaporeans. Negative affect towards foreign talents stems largely from the perceived impact it will have on one’s own job prospect, and negative affect towards lowered skilled foreign workers stems from perceptions that they will affect the tone of Singapore’s culture. Similar findings were found in a telephone survey of 400 Singaporeans foreigners taking away jobs from Singaporeans was cited as one of the top reasons and ‘they do not observe the social rules Singaporeans do’ as the other (Chang & Ong, 2012). Foreigners affecting our culture was also implied by PM Lee in his interview when he mentioned that he wants to ‘keep this a Singapore-Singapore ... it has to maintain that Singapore character’ (Channel News Asia, 2015). SDO and RWA may be able to account for these findings. Dominators are more concerned about maintenance of hierarchical intergroup relations. Hence, as increasing number of foreigners occupy jobs that was once held by fellow Singaporeans, the perceived competition for limited resources (i.e. jobs) lead dominators to be negative as they feel their status of being the advantaged group being threatened. On the other hand, authoritarians, are concerned with social conformity to ingroup norms. Hence, when foreigners do not assimilate, they feel as if the ‘Singaporean culture’ they are so familiar with is at risk of being eroded. This perceived threat to culture led them to be more negative towards immigrants. These feelings may also be directed towards lower skilled immigrants as they are not perceived to be in competition with jobs that are coveted by Singaporeans, accounting for why perceived competition is not a reason for
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