Reimagining Singapore in verse: A critical discourse analysis of contemporary poetry and its role in emerging national identity

Benjamin Baguio Mangila


This paper critically examines how contemporary Singaporean writers use language in verse, that is poetry, to make vivid representations of Singapore as a nation and discursively construct the social notion of the country's national identity. Utilizing Wodak's (2001) Discourse-Historical framework, this paper reveals how the two authors use some common discursive strategies, mainly representational and predicational, in making explicit representations of Singapore and creating a strong sense of national identity. In their poetry, authors frequently utilize referential linguistic devices such as first personal pronouns to attach specific human traits that help personify Singapore and express an in-group identity that functions as a unifying mechanism that connects Singapore, including its people, together. Lexical repetitions and rhetorical figures are also used to convey more emphasis and reveal the authors' intended meanings or messages. The authors employ various descriptive words to create better and more accurate imageries of Singapore as a varied community and as a nation. Furthermore, the authors' discursive techniques perform both the "constructing" and "preserving" macro-functions by discursively constructing Singapore's national identity as well as making an urgent call to all Singaporeans to safeguard their collective identity.

Keywords: contemporary poetry; critical discourse analysis; discursive strat-egies; national identity; Wodak’s (2001) Discourse-Historical Ap-proach 

Penggambaran Singapura di dalam sajak: Analisa wacana kritis pada puisi kontemporer dan peranannya dalam perkembangan identitas nasional

Penelitian ini bertujuan untuk mengkaji secara kritis bagaimana penulis Singapura kontemporer menggunakan bahasa dalam sajak, yaitu puisi, utamanya pada puisi, untuk membuat representasi yang jelas  tentang Singapura sebagai sebuah negara. Selain itu penelitian ini secara diskursif membangun gagasan sosial tentang identitas nasional negara tersebut. Dengan menggunakan kerangka wacana-sejarah dari Wodak (2001), hasil penelitian menunjukkan bahwa dua penulis menggunakan dua strategi diskursif yang telah banyak digunakan, yaitu secara representasional dan predikatif, dalam membuat representasi eksplisit dan identitas nasional Singapura yang kuat. Pada puisi mereka, para penulis sering menggunakan perangkat linguistik referensial, seperti kata ganti orang pertama, dalam mencantumkan karakteristik khusus yang dapat menggambarkan warga Singapura dan identitas kelompok yang dapat mempersatukan Singapura, termasuk warga negaranya. Selain itu, pengulangan leksikal dan figur retoris juga digunakan untuk memberikan penekanan dan menunjukkan makna atau pesan yang ingin disampaikan oleh penulis. Para penulis juga banyak menggunakan kata-kata deskriptif untuk menggambarkan citra Singapura sebagai komunitas yang beragam dan sebagai sebuah negara, secara lebih baik dan akurat. Lebih lanjut, penulis dengan teknik diskursif juga melakukan fungsi makro ‘membangun’ dan ‘melestarikan’ untuk membentuk identitas nasional Singapura, serta menyerukan bagi seluruh warga Singapura agar mereka senantiasa menjaga identitas kolektif mereka.

Kata kunci: puisi kontemporer, analisis wacana kritis, strategi diskursif, identitas nasional, kerangka wacana-sejarah dari Wodak (2001)


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