Identity and Communitarian Constitutional Rights in Singapore

This paper presents a theory of an inclusive communitarian approach to constitutional rights that non-liberal, self-professed communitarian Singapore should adopt. Instead of prioritising the community over the individual and subjugating some identities to the collective will, the paper argues that, by adopting a pluralistic conception of 'community' as the communities that constitute our identity, a communitarian approach to rights can accommodate a myriad of identities. Rights would then protect constitutive communities from unjustified state and/or majority encroachment and promote the individual's interest in participating in these communities and living as her various identities. Due to the ethical significance of the national community, its members have an obligation to recognise and include even unpopular constitutive communities. This theory is particularly relevant to societies in Asia that seek to accommodate diverse identities within a communitarian rights-based framework