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
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
6. Democracy and Human Rights: In the Shadow of Myanmar’s National Security State
7. Foreign Policy and International Engagement: Strategic Realities, Domestic Priorities
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
Part 3: Society
12. Art and Heritage: Creating and Preserving Cultural Histories
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
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