1st Edition

Energy, Governance and Security in Thailand and Myanmar (Burma) A Critical Approach to Environmental Politics in the South

By Adam Simpson Copyright 2014
    280 Pages
    by Routledge

    280 Pages
    by Routledge

    Across the world states are seeking out new and secure supplies of energy but this search is manifesting itself most visibly in Asia where rapid industrialisation in states such as China and India is fomenting a frantic scramble for energy resources. Due to entrenched societal inequities and widespread authoritarian governance, however, the pursuit of national energy security through transnational energy projects has resulted in devastating impacts on the human and environmental security of local populations. These effects are particularly evident in both Thailand and Myanmar (Burma), which, located at the crossroads of Asia, are increasingly engaged in the cross-border energy trade. Based on extensive fieldwork and theoretical analysis this ground-breaking book proposes a new critical approach to energy and environmental security and explores the important role that both local and transnational environmental movements are playing, in the absence of effective and democratic governments, in providing ’activist environmental governance’ for energy projects throughout the region. By comparing the nature of this activism under two very different political regimes it delivers crucial theoretical insights with both academic and policy implications for the sustainable and equitable development of the South’s natural resources.

    Energy, Governance and Security in Thailand and Myanmar (Burma)


    Adam Simpson is Director of the Centre for Peace and Security, Hawke Research Institute, and Senior Lecturer in International Studies at the University of South Australia. He was previously Associate Lecturer in International Politics at the University of Adelaide and worked as an analyst with investment banks in the City of London.

    ’Simpson provides us with a fascinating insight into activism in the South. This book fills an important gap, it engages with questions around how environmental movements are responding to the expansion of oil and gas industries in Asia, especially Thailand and Myanmar. It is a must-read for anyone interested in issues around energy, governance and activism.

     Rosaleen Duffy, University of Kent, UK

    Adam Simpson offers an excellent and comprehensive study of key environmental campaigns in Myanmar and Thailand. This work examines the core paradox of government projects justified by a discourse of energy security being challenged by movements that fear a resultant increase in environmental insecurity. Just as importantly, Simpson expands our exposure to, and knowledge of, environmental policies and movement responses outside the usual academic focus on northern liberal democracies.

     David Schlosberg, University of Sydney, Australia

    Adam Simpson’s new book comprehensively presents some of the most prominent recent environmental campaigns in Myanmar and Thailand while also contributing theoretically to the study of environmental movements under different political regimes and developing the concept of emancipatory environmental activism. ... an exceptionally versatile book ... highly recommended as an excellent study in an emerging field that will be of increasing importance as large-scale energy projects (and opposition to them) continue to spread across the region.

    Journal of Contemporary Asia

    This interesting book contributes to the environment and development literature in two key ways. It presents a fine-grained analysis of the background, politics, and challenges concerning energy and local development in Thailand and Myanmar (Burma). It also develops an approach within political ecology that considers the politics of local and international activism, and their contributions to governance … This is a valuable and informative book that should be read by scholars of Southeast Asia and environmental activism … It compares local and transnational activism … and provides valuable analysis of how different strategies and contexts provide opportunities for influencing authoritarian regimes.

    Environmental Politics

    'The book showcases the breadth and depth of Simpson’s research into environmentalism in Thailand and Myanmar, and provides a wealth of empirical data regarding environmental campaigns. … Simpson presents the historical and contemporary environmental politics of Thailand and Myanmar in impressive, fine-grained detail … This ambitious book illuminates many paths for future empirical research and theoretical debate …'


    The Journal of Peasant Studies

    'Energy, Governance and Security in Thailand and Myanmar essentially contributes to the understanding of the nexus between energy security and environmental governance making it a must read for scholars, policymakers, and activists alike. Among the literature on environmental politics and energy security, Simpson’s framework for the empowerment of emancipatory activism for environmental governance is unique.'

    Asian Politics and Policy