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Australian Journal of Asian Law

Abstract from Volume 9 No 1 (2007)

Harmony as Ideology, Culture, and Control: Alternative Dispute Resolution in Singapore

Eugene KB Tan is Assistant Professor of Law, School of Law, Singapore Management University.

The original impetus for promoting alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in Singapore in the mid-1980s was to support the needs of commerce and trade. Within a decade, the ADR regime has crystallised into a state-endorsed movement. ADR is seen as being in accord with Singapore’s cultural values and assisting in nation-building through the promotion of harmony, cohesion and stability in a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-lingual society. The extensive efforts at promoting an ideology of harmony, preferring civility over conten­tiousness, and prioritising responsibilities over rights, translate into the public narrative of consensus and settlement as desirable and necessary. Conversely, conflicts and contention are seen as social phenomenon against the common good, to be avoided at all costs.

(2007) 9(1) Asian Law 120-151

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