Final-year PhD candidate in the University of British Columbia’s Department of History Edgar Liao studies the history of youth in Singapore. His work is informed both by his archival work and his previous experience as a volunteer and youth leader in the youth work scene in the country. After helping us understand the theoretical (Foucauldian) concepts he employs, Edgar explains how Singapore’s youth policies as well as patterns of inclusion and exclusion inform the history of the present. He describes a dualistic discourse: Of the Singapore state empowering youths with resources for development, while scrutinising and policing their activity and activism at the same time.
Edgar specialises in the global history of childhood and youth and the history of the Cold War, imperialism, and decolonisation in twentieth-century South East Asia.
My conversation with Edgar is part of our 2021 focus on researchers in Singapore (https://socialservice.sg/podcast/).