Myanmar : Politics, Economy and Society book cover
1st Edition

Politics, Economy and Society

ISBN 9780367110444
Published September 15, 2020 by Routledge
290 Pages

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Book Description

This book provides a sophisticated, yet accessible, overview of the key political, economic and social challenges facing contemporary Myanmar and explains the complex historical and ethnic dynamics that have shaped the country.

With clear and incisive contributions from the world’s leading Myanmar scholars, this book assesses the policies and political reforms that have provoked contestation in Myanmar’s recent history and driven both economic and social change. In this context, questions of economic ownership and control and the distribution of natural resources are shown to be deeply informed by long-standing fractures among ethnic and civil-military relations. The chapters analyse the key issues that constrain or expedite societal development in Myanmar and place recent events of national and international significance in the context of its complex history and social relations. In doing so, the book demonstrates that ethnic and cultural diversity is at the core of Myanmar’s society and heavily influences all aspects of life in the country.

Filling a gap in the market, this research textbook and primer will be of interest to upper undergraduates, postgraduates and scholars of Southeast Asian politics, economics and society and to journalists and professionals working within governments, companies and other organisations.

Table of Contents

1. Interrogating Contemporary Myanmar: The Difficult Transition

Adam Simpson and Nicholas Farrelly

Part 1: Politics

2. Elections and Political Reform: New Hopes, Old Fears

Nicholas Farrelly

3. The Military: Institution and Politics

Maung Aung Myoe

4. Law, Lawyers and Legal Institutions

Mish Khan & Nick Cheesman

5. Ethnic Politics: Diversity and Agency Amidst Persistent Violence

Matthew Walton

6. Democracy and Human Rights: In the Shadow of Myanmar’s National Security State

Morten Pedersen

7. Foreign Policy and International Engagement: Strategic Realities, Domestic Priorities

Renaud Egreteau

Part 2: Economy

8. Political Regimes and Economic Policy: Isolation, Consolidation, Reintegration

Michele Ford, Michael Gillan & Htwe Htwe Thein

9. Industrial Policy and Special Economic Zones: Engaging Transformation in a Globalised World

Giuseppe Gabusi & Michele Boario

10. Agriculture and the Rural Economy: The Struggle to Transform Rural Livelihoods

Duncan Boughton, Ikuko Okamoto, Siu Sue Mark, Tin Htut Oo, Theingi Myint and Ardeth Maung Thawnghmung

11. Natural Resources: Wealth and Conflict

Adam Simpson

Part 3: Society

12. Art and Heritage: Creating and Preserving Cultural Histories

Charlotte Galloway

13. Women's Rights: Change and Continuity

Jenny Hedström, Elisabeth Olivius & Valentina Kay Soe

14. Myanmar’s Contested Borderlands: Uneven Development and Ongoing Armed Conflict

Busarin Lertchavalitsakul & Patrick Meehan

15. Ethnicity, Culture and Religion: Centralisation, Burmanisation and Social Transformation

Violet Cho & David Gilbert

16. Journalism and Free Speech: Freedom and Fear

Tom Kean & Mratt Kyaw Thu

17. The Rohingya Crisis: Nationalism and its Discontents

Adam Simpson & Nicholas Farrelly

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Adam Simpson is Program Director of the Master of Communication in UniSA Justice & Society, at the University of South Australia. He is the co-editor, along with Nicholas Farrelly and Ian Holliday, of the Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Myanmar (2018) and author of Energy, Governance and Security in Thailand and Myanmar (2014, 2017).

Nicholas Farrelly is Professor and Head of Social Sciences at the University of Tasmania, Australia. He was previously Associate Dean of the College of Asia and the Pacific at the Australian National University.


"It is a must-read for scholars on contemporary Myanmar and fascinating for anyone interested in broader processes of political and economic transformations … All in all, the book is a welcome addition to studies of contemporary Myanmar and deserves to be read widely." Marco Bünte, European Journal of East Asian Studies, May 2021, Volume 20 (1): 277-78