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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Women negotiating the local-global interface: cosmetics in Singapore Griffiths, Catherine Jane


This thesis is concerned with the negotiations that Singapore women make as they traverse an ever-changing landscape that is caught in the local-global dialectic. Through field study and archival research the author investigates the effects of the globalization of the economy on the local practices of women. This thesis includes the global influences of the international division of labour, consumer culture and the media. Balancing the global is the local controls of the Singapore government, through various social mechanisms. The social landscape of Singapore and women’s position in the landscape are central to the argument that women are especially affected by the globalization and the local controls. The multiple roles women play as they adapt to rapidly changing images of femininity and womanhood are discussed in the context of the local and the global through the cosmetics industry and the use of cosmetics. The agency of women is discussed as women were found to devise different looks to adapt to the many roles they are asked to play in their daily experiences. Women actively seek out methods to accommodate the changing social landscape in Singapore and cosmetics is one way they take control of their femininity as Singapore experiences the local-global dialectic.

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