For the most part, the theory of security sector governance does not comport with extant Southeast Asian realities owing to its Western assumptions and expectations. Singapore’s security sector resembles that of other ASEAN countries in its technocratic, illiberal and comprehensive security-oriented aspects, where governance is exercised solely in a top-down fashion (“governance by national government”). Against this common wisdom, we argue that the Singapore case can, with qualifications, also be understood in terms of both “governance with multiple governments” and “governance without government”, categories that better fit Western industrial democracies. For example, growing regionalism in Southeast Asia suggests, not inconceivably, that the future management of the region’s security sectors, not least Singapore’s, could be a multi-tiered, shared enterprise involving not only national governments, but regional organizations such as ASEAN as well as non-official mechanisms (“governance with multiple governments”). Moreover, the highly professionalized fashion in which Singapore manages its security sector differs markedly from the “new/ developmental professionalism” of other ASEAN security sectors. Borrowing from Michel Foucault’s ideas of disciplinary intervention and self-formation, we show how Singapore’s security is in part reliant on habits and rituals of self-governance among ordinary Singaporeans (“governance without government”).


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 241-263
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.