in: Internationales Asienforum 42 (3-4), 345-369
Southeast Asia, former battleground of opposing ideologies, is increasingly turning to market liberalisation; in Vietnam the vision of a ‘socialist-oriented market economy’, in Singapore that of a ‘knowledge society’ is pursued. This paper assesses the influence of these visions on the local conceptualisations of public space. On Ba Dinh Square/Hanoi, official space is transformed into concrete public space through citizens’ negotiation. In Singapore’s libraries, the aim to foster knowledge production and creativity results in the construction of spaces for collaborative learning and discussions. This paper studies the political balancing act between tolerating the voicing of public opinion and upholding authoritarian governance practices, the focus being on the conceptualisations of public space and their role in redefining social order.