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Title: Education and economic (im)mobility of low-wage workers : the case of the security sector in Singapore
Authors: Gog, Soon Joo
Issue Date: 2013
Abstract: The worsening income disparity in Singapore is threatening the legitimacy of the Developmental State. In the attempt to address the widening income gap, the government has prescribed “productivity enhancement and skills upgrading” as the primary means towards building an inclusive society. Against this backdrop, this case study examined the upward mobility of low-wage workers in the unarmed private security sector by interrogating the interactions among the state, employers, and workers. The study drew upon Bourdieu’s Praxeological analysis to investigate the causal mechanism underlying their actions and rationale and the reasons embedded in their reciprocal relationships in their interpretation and facilitation of upward mobility of low-wage workers. The findings revealed the existence of institutional and circumstantial conditions that have impeded the upward mobility of low-wage employees in the security sector. These conditions reflect a deep set of culturally- and historically-constructed dispositions of a developmental state such as economic primacy, pro-business mindset and self-reliance. The very same attitudinal, institutional, and circumstantial factors that have contributed to Singapore’s economic success have also led to the immobility of low-wage security workers. As shown in this study, the uncovering of the visible and the invisible forces that have impeded the upward mobility of low-wage workers highlights the need to explain the hidden predispositions embedded within the actors’ interactions. Finally, the thesis argues that an multi-disciplinary macro-mesomicro integrated approach of analysing the relational positioning of actors can enhance the Praxeological analysis by providing a balanced, yet critical, evaluation of a socio-economic phenomenon leading to a practical course of actions to improve current practices.
Issued Date: 2013
Appears in Collections:Doctor in Education (Ed.D.)

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