We are pleased to announce that the 2015 Sociological Review Prize for Outstanding Scholarship has been awarded to Terence Heng for his paper An Appropriation of Ashes: Transient Aesthetic Markers and Spiritual Place-Making as Performances of Alternative Ethnic Identities. The article offers a rich descriptive account that reveals the fleeting materialization of spiritual identities in urban space—the transient altars to spirits animated with stunning photographs. Within the context of Singapore’s drive towards ethnic homogeneity, these acts subvert ‘both the planned narratives of ethnic identity and spatial practices of the state'. As Heng argues, these may be read as small yet public acts of resistance against the state and the daily struggle to define ethnic identities.
The panel of judges for this year’s award unanimously selected this article for the prize because of its critical and creative engagement. Rather than take its object for granted, the fine-grained ethnographic approach reveals in intricate detail these small, yet powerful, acts of resistance to the state.
We would also like to commend the authors of the following articles, which were shortlisted for the prize:
Keeping open by re-imagining laughter and fear
Nihilism and urban multiculture in outer East London
Delphine Serre and Anne-Catherine Wagner
For a relational approach to cultural capital: a concept tested by changes in the French social space
The winning article and all those shortlisted will be free to access for a year.
We would also like to thank this year’s selection committee Gail Davies, Gurminder Bhambra, Srila Roy and Maria Puig de la Bellacasa.