Myanmar’s Peace Process and the Role of Middle Power States  book cover
1st Edition

Myanmar’s Peace Process and the Role of Middle Power States

ISBN 9781032157139
Published June 3, 2022 by Routledge
162 Pages

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Book Description

This book explores middle power engagement in peace processes through the cases of Australian, Japanese and Norwegian engagement in Myanmar’s peace process, a core event in Myanmar’s contemporary recent political history.

The book asks to what extent, and how, middle powers have engaged in Myanmar’s peace process as a form of peacemaking entrepreneurship. Underpinning this study is a concern for the lack of clarity surrounding the middle power concept. Traditional conceptions of middle powers, steeped in idealist thinking, locate such states as capable peacemakers, without elucidating the motivations that drive middle powers to peacemaking beyond mere status seeking. Drawing on recent fieldwork interviews from within Myanmar as well as political economy literature, the author scrutinises this notion while concomitantly offering an incisive analysis of Myanmar’s peace process. Based on the Myanmar context, the book argues that middle powers can better be conceptualised as "peace-making entrepreneurs," as actors that use peacemaking as an instrumental tool to cement their status and craft an image, which they can then trade upon to secure additional, namely, commercial, benefits. Significantly, this notion of peacemaking entrepreneurship problematises core theoretical assumptions of middle powers as capable peacemakers, presenting implications for future scholarship on middle powers.

A timely addition as Myanmar continues to grapple with its own future, the book is located within the fields of International Relations and Development Studies. It will be of interest to researchers studying Asian Studies, Peace and Conflict Studies, and Myanmar Politics.

Table of Contents


List of acronyms




Myanmar’s peace process and the relevance of middle powers

1 Myanmar’s domestic and geopolitical context

2 Theory on middle powers

3 Political economy lenses


The peacemaking landscape – International engagement with Myanmar’s peace process

4 Major powers in Myanmar’s peace process

5 Identity and middle power peacemaking in Myanmar

6 The political economy of middle-power peacemaking in Myanmar


Contesting the peacemaking image of middle powers

7 Middle powers as "peacemaking entrepreneurs" in Myanmar’s peace process

8 Where to for middle-power theory?


Appendix 1 Interview Participants

Appendix 2 Interview guiding questions



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Chiraag Roy is an International Relations scholar with research interests in International Relations theory, Asia-Pacific politics, Australian foreign policy and middle power theory.