On the moral geography of cities: a case study of three Singapore hostess pubs in a suburban ‘High Street’ setting

Kieran Edmond James*, Rex John Walsh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

We study three hostess pubs on Joo Chiat Road, Singapore - a ‘Vietnam pub’ and two ‘Filipina pubs’, utilizing the concept of ‘assemblages’ based on Bøhling’s work on Copenhagen nightlife. We compare and contrast the customer demographics of each night-time economy (NTE) establishment, and the resultant culture, which is a product of the race/ethnicity of the hostesses, the race/ethnicity and ages of the patrons, the policies and ethos of the owner/manager, and the pricing model whereby hostesses get financially rewarded. The Filipina pubs rely upon ‘ladies’ drinks’ whereas the Vietnam pub fosters a tipping system. While the ladies’ drinks model suggests a hyper-capitalist business setting, the tipping model has feudal, honour-based and debt-based elements. These observations derive from Marx’s historical materialism theory where aspects of feudal or pre-capitalist practices linger on into the capitalist epoch.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-158
Number of pages20
JournalAdvances in Applied Sociology
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2023

Keywords

  • assemblages
  • historical materialism
  • hostess pubs
  • Joo Chiat Road
  • ladies' drinks
  • Marx
  • night-time economy
  • Singapore

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