A Multicultural Space in the Global Cityscape: The Neighbourhood Coffee Shop

By Faizah Zakaria.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The forces of globalization, which have been variously defined by economic, political, social and cultural terms, have reconfigured urban markets and places through cross-cultural linkages. This paper examines how these movements transform small local businesses in Singapore through a case study of a neighborhood coffee shop. Formerly a state-supported urban space that facilitated multi-ethnic interactions during Singapore’s urban transformation, this structure faced dual challenges of maintaining its profitability and character in the new global cityscape. This paper argues that, through the changing face of its workers and adoption of niche cuisine, the vision of neighborhood coffee shops as multicultural spaces of interaction is giving way to the formation of ethnic enclaves. As such, this paper illustrates how global forces simultaneously enhances, challenges and shapes multiculturalism in a city.

Keywords: Singapore, Global Cuisine, Globalization, Multiculturalism, Coffee Shops

Global Studies Journal, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp.191-204. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 606.267KB).

Faizah Zakaria

Graduate Student, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore

I am a graduate student currently pursuing an M.A in Southeast Asian Studies under the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences in the National University of Singapore. My undergraduate academic background was in Mathematics and I previously taught the subject at a local junior college. Through involvement in action research in education and regional community service projects in my teaching years, I developed an interest in regional studies. In particular, my research interests are inter-cultural communication and identities, regional politics and governance as well as development through education.


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