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Anthropological literature on ethnicity and identity

Individual Documents

Title: Gender Gap and Women’s Political Participation in Burma/Myanmar
Date of publication: 26 July 2015
Description/subject: Abstract: "Women's political participation and representation vary dramatically within and between countries. This paper selectively reviews the literature on gender gap and women's participation in politics, focusing on women's formal political participation particularly from 2010 general election in Burma/Myanmar. The paper discusses, however, various barriers and challenges including traditional, religion, lack of education, experience in public discussion, participation and more importantly the military drafted 2008 constitution for women's political participation and representation in Burma/Myanmar. It also explains significance of women's political participation as well as the role of international mechanisms and gender quotas particularly the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Electoral Quotas System for empowering women’s participation in politics. Then, it explores the gap between the 2008 Constitution and the CEDAW standards. Throughout the review, the paper demonstrates a very low level of women's political participation from secondary data as well as in-­‐depth interviewed with women parliamentarians explained the challenges and difficulties for women participation in politics of decision-­‐making. It also reveals the most common mechanism for increasing women’s political participation-­‐quotas and in order to have an effective the gender electoral quotas system it is explicitly important both men and women attend training and skills development. Importantly, the paper also asks what degree and under what conditions elected women actually do represent women and contribute to gender equality, democracy and whether women are distinctive—does having more women in office make a difference to public policy?".....Paper delivered at the International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies: Burma/Myanmar in Transition: Connectivity, Changes and Challenges: University Academic Service Centre (UNISERV), Chiang Mai University, Thailand, 24-­26 July 2015.
Author/creator: Sang Hnin Lian
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies: Burma/Myanmar in Transition: Connectivity, Changes and Challenges: University Academic Service Centre (UNISERV), Chiang Mai University, Thailand, 24-­26 July 2015
Format/size: pdf (181K)
Alternate URLs: http://rcsd.soc.cmu.ac.th/web/Burma/home.php#
Date of entry/update: 08 August 2015

Title: 'External' Aspects of Self-Determination Movements in Burma
Date of publication: February 2003
Description/subject: Abstract: "Based on secondary resources and long term anthropological field research, this paper explores some of the 'external' factors involved in the pro-democracy and ethnic struggles for self-determination currently being experienced in Burma. The analysis draws in cultural, economic and political aspects to demonstrate that a number of macro- and micro-level external or external-origin influences are at play, at a number of different 'inside', 'outside' and marginal sites. The paper argues in particular that 'cultural' factors such as computer-mediated communication and contacts with outsiders when living in exile, serve as means by which real, virtual and imaginary connections are drawn between these different sites and the actors who inhabit them. In the context of Burma, this paper thus presents a glimpse into this complexity of origin and substance of external influences, of interactions between the external and the internal, and of the multidirectional pathways along which they operate. After an introductory overview, it does so by first reviewing some pertinent macro-political and macro-economic external factors, including international views and strategic interests. The paper then focuses on micro-level social and cultural issues, examining aspects of new media as utilised by the Burmese exile community and international activists. External influences on exiled communities living in the margins on the Thai-Burma border (characterised by the paper as neither 'inside' nor 'outside' proper), including Christianity and foreign non-governmental organisations, are then explored. The paper concludes that inside views, reactions and experiences of outside influences are presently just as important in determining outcomes as are the outside influences themselves."
Author/creator: Sandra Dudley
Language: English
Source/publisher: Queen Elizabeth House
Format/size: pdf (123K)
Alternate URLs: http://ideas.repec.org/p/qeh/qehwps/qehwps94.html
Date of entry/update: 08 July 2010

Title: Seeing ‘Karen’ in the Union of Myanmar
Date of publication: 2002
Description/subject: "Karen identity is problematic, as peoples known as ‘Karen’ do not share a common language, culture, religion or material characteristics. Most of the research on Karens has been conducted in Thailand, but the dominant ‘pan-Karen’ identity is a product of social and historical forces in Myanmar, where this study is focused. In the main part of this paper, I reveal the subjective criteria that have come to signify pan-Karen identity. My primary source material consists of internal literary discourses. In particular, I have drawn on the historical texts of two British colonial-era authors: T. Thanbyah and Saw Aung Hla. Three signiï¿¿cant concepts appear in their works and subsequent internal discourses on Karen identity: that Karens are oppressed, uneducated and virtuous. In the latter part of the paper, I review contemporary Myanmar government policy on ethnic identity, highlighting the assigned role of ‘Union Spirit’ among all groups in the country towards overcoming superï¿¿cial differences. State policies are designed—among other things—to emphasise a myth of common descent of all ‘national races’; construct a unifying national culture, and concentrate administrative power at the centre. Both Karen identity and the Union of Myanmar are products of the same historical and social conditions. Both appeal to a supposed unity, but in other characteristics differ. State discourses suggest accommodation, but are directed towards social control. Karen identity is born of primordial statements but is manifest in structural opposition to the state. Ultimately, while the state seeks to assimilate all, Karen nationalists aim towards the assimilation of their own and separation from others."
Author/creator: Nick Cheesman
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asian Ethnicity, Volume 3, Number 2, September 2002
Format/size: pdf (661K)
Date of entry/update: 18 August 2014