The Biopolitics of Inclusion: Disability and Capacity in the Singapore Nation

The Biopolitics of Inclusion: Disability and Capacity in the Singapore Nation
“What does inclusion do?” is a provocation to think more critically about the condition and contemporary ideology of inclusion in Singapore. Since the mid-2000s, the inclusion of disabled people has been an overt aim of Singapore society, led by the ruling People’s Action Party, so much so that there is little resistance against the propagation of this ideology. Yet inclusion while desirable and seemingly benevolent, also creates effects of control and containment. Writing at the intersections of media, communication, and cultural studies, and disability studies, I consider how inclusion manifests as a biopolitical strategy, examining cultural events such as the See the True Me, a public education campaign circulated through digital formats on social media sites; the Purple Parade, an annual inclusive carnival celebrating disability inclusion; accessible infrastructure and inclusive community spaces and their implications on disabled peoples’ mobilities; and disabled people’s life writings. I argue that increasingly in Singapore, and in other nation-states, the effect of inclusion is the production of a new figure of disability, or what I call the included. I sketch out the contours of the included, who are actively embraced by a state that demands inclusion of all it deems disabled, speaking with disability studies that has focused on exposing the exclusion of disabled people. In particular, I think through the following questions: How is inclusion as an ideology created, circulated, communicated, and consumed in society? How are disabled people capacitated and included? What does being included mean? Who is the target of inclusion? And ultimately, what does inclusion really do?


Kuansong Victor ZHUANG

Defended in

1 Jan 2021 – 31 Dec 2021

PhD defended at

Department of Disability & Human Development, University of Illinois at Chicago | Department of Media, Communication, Creative Arts, Language, and Literature, Macquarie University






Human Rights
Art and Culture