Tensions amongst a divided populace in Singapore about immigration have led to a rising need for navigating cultural diversity and promoting social integration amid the formation of a more complex and variegated national identity. The study aims to interrogate emergent issues of nativism facing certain sections of the Singaporean population, further proposing effective communication strategies towards a more inclusive society. In a tightly regulated media system, these pressures have found release on alternate forums—interactive online digital media (social media, online blogs, mobile media, etc.). The polarized political discourse conducted online by disaffected Singaporeans and disengaged immigrants encourages isolationist practices and nativist sentiments, antithetical to processes of social integration.
The unique contributions of study is firstly to address a unique conceptualization of social cohesion relevant to rising multiracial Asia, going beyond prior research that focused on homogeneous populations or those responding to specific (refugee) crises. This project aims to build an epistemological perspective to understand nativist (exclusionary) and integrative (inclusionary) perceptions and attitudes in a multiracial society. Second, current research places emphasis on the nativist tendencies of the host society, neglecting the possible influence of immigrant groups’ attitudes and behaviours. This project seeks to understand how both social groups view, interact and negotiate the various aspects of social integration in Singapore. Third, the research on the impact of information communication technologies concerning immigration and social integration is still at a nascent stage. The current project will generate empirical evidence to resolve current debates about the influence of technologically-mediated contact on acculturation and social integration.