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Anthropological literature on refugees and migrants

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: Anthropological literature on refugees and migrants
Description/subject: Link to the OBL Anthropology section
Language: English
Source/publisher: Online Burma/Myanmar Library
Format/size: html, pdf
Date of entry/update: 03 December 2010


Individual Documents

Title: The Sound of Loss and Hope: Pop Music of Karen Refugees from Burma/Myanmar
Date of publication: 26 July 2015
Description/subject: "Since late 2011, I have made contacted with Karen refugee communities in two geographic locations –one on the Thai-Burma border and one in Melbourne, Australia, which has provided me opportunities to observe and participate in a number of activities organized by those displaced residents. During my three-year engagement, I have come across many Karen refugees who have enthusiastically taken part in the production as well as circulation and consumption of Karen pop music, especially in the form of music CDs or DVDs and audio and video files shared through online media platforms such as YouTube. Some explain that music offers them opportunities to enjoy themselves and to ‘hang out’ with like-minded fellow Karen. Moreover, I have found that music involvement helps some Karen individuals to cope with and to make sense of situations of displacement, oppression and alienation. Notably, the sentimental charge of song lyrics and melodies as well as the visual representations in music videos become a source of a sense of Karen identity and solidarity, and thereby make it possible for the producers as well as their audiences to maintain connections with their counterparts in different countries.".....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: Manoch Chummuangpak
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 (373K)
Alternate URLs: http://rcsd.soc.cmu.ac.th/web/Burma/home.php#
Date of entry/update: 10 August 2015


Title: The governance palimpsest: order maintenance in Southeast Burma
Date of publication: 2014
Description/subject: Focus on Karen refugees....."The force of habit, the awe of traditional command and a sentimental attachment to it, the desire to satisfy public opinion - all combine to make custom be obeyed for its own sake. In this the ‘savages’ do not differ from the members of any self-contained community with a limited horizon, whether this be an Eastern European ghetto, an Oxford college, or a Fundamentalist Middle West community. But love of tradition, conformism and the sway of custom account but to a very partial extent for obedience to rules among dons, savages, peasants, or Junkers. [. . .] in the main these rules are followed because their practical utility is recognized by reason and testified by experience." (Malinowski 1926).....Re the attached sales flyer for the book, the publishers say that a paperback version will be out in July or August.
Author/creator: Kirsten McConnachie
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Governing Refugees - Justice, Order and Legal Pluralism" (Chapter 4)
Format/size: pdf (619K)
Date of entry/update: 24 February 2015


Title: The struggle for ownership of justice
Date of publication: 2014
Description/subject: "We lawyers just cannot help being Darwinian. We simply cannot shake off our assumption that some legal cultures are more developed than others. We prefer written law to oral law; we are happier with professional judges than with people’s rough justice; and — need I say? — we just love cultures that have their own lawyers.".....Re the attached sales flyer for the book, the publishers say that a paperback version will be out in July or August. (Andrew Huxley 2011)
Author/creator: Kirsten McConnachie
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Governing Refugees - Justice, Order and Legal Pluralism" (Chapter 6)
Format/size: pdf (599K)
Date of entry/update: 24 February 2015


Title: Creating Non-State Spaces: Interfaces of Humanitarianism and Self-Government of Karen-Refugee Migrants in Thai Burmese Border Spaces
Date of publication: October 2012
Description/subject: Abstract: "This paper examines the interfaces of local community based humanitarian organizations with displaced Karen people in Thai-Burmese border spaces and their claims for cultural rights. It argues that Karen people have to organize themselves in a context where they do not have access to social welfare of the state and in which the state is hostile and oppressive to them. Applying Merry’s thesis on the localization and vernacularization of international rights frameworks in the local context, the paper explores the context of power in which different humanitarian actors intervention in the local conflict zone. The author finds that Karen displaced people have differentiated access to humanitarian assistance and that powerful organizations like the Karen National Union are able to benefit while essentializing Karen culture and suppressing internal difference among the Karen to position itself towards the international donor community, thereby becoming “liked” or “preferred” refugees. The paper then also looks at secular and faith-based local humanitarian groups and finds that these groups are deeply embedded in local society and thus able to help effectively. Karen displaced people thus create non-state spaces in border spaces by establishing partnerships with local humanitarian organizations that act as brokers and mediators of international organizations and donors."
Author/creator: Alexander Horstmann
Language: English
Source/publisher: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religioius and Ethnic Diversity
Format/size: pdf (940K-OBL version; 2MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.mmg.mpg.de/publications/working-papers/2012/wp-12-17/
www.mmg.mpg.de/workingpapers
Date of entry/update: 08 November 2012


Title: Searching for home: Explorations in new media and the Burmese diaspora in New Zealand
Date of publication: 20 May 2011
Description/subject: ABSTRACT: "This study examines the place of new media in the maintance of Burmese diasporic identities. Political oppression in Burma, the experience of exile and the importance of opposition movements in the borderlands make the Burmese diaspora a unique and complex group. This study uses tapoetetha-kot, an indigenous Karen research methodology, to explore aspects of new media use and identity among a group of Burmese refugees in Auckland, New Zealand. Common among all participants was a twin desire to share stories of suffering and to have that pain recognised. Participants in this project try to maintain their language and cultural practices, with the intent of returning to a democratic Burma in the future. New media supports this, by providing participants with access to opposition news reports of human rights abuses and suffering; through making cultural and linguistic artifacts accessible, and through providing an easy means of communication with friends and family in Burma and the borderlands."... Keywords: Burma, Karen, refugee, diaspora, indigenous, political activism, new media, tapotaethakot VIOLET CHO
Author/creator: Violet Cho
Language: English
Source/publisher: PACIFIC JOURNALISM REVIEW 17 (1) 2011
Format/size: pdf (85K)
Date of entry/update: 16 September 2011


Title: New media and Burmese diaspora identities in New Zealand
Date of publication: November 2009
Description/subject: Abstract: "This study examines ways in which Burmese diasporic identities are formed and maintained, and the importance of new media in this process. Political oppression in Burma, the experience of exile and the importance of opposition movements in the borderlands make the Burmese diaspora a unique and complex group. This study used tapoetethakot, an indigenous Karen research methodology, to interact with fourteen participants in Auckland, exploring aspects of new media use and identity maintenance. Common among all participants was a twin desire to share stories of suffering and to have that pain recognised. This suffering is an important part of refugee identity and is also linked with resistance against assimilation in New Zealand. Instead, participants try and maintain their language and cultural practices, with the intent of returning to a democratic Burma in the future. New media supports these processes, by providing participants with access to opposition media reports of human rights abuses and suffering, through making cultural and linguistic artifacts accessible and through providing an easy means of communication with friends and family in Burma and the borderlands."
Author/creator: Naw Violet Cho
Language: English (main text); Interviews (English, Karen, Burmese)
Source/publisher: School of Communication Studies Auckland University of Technology
Format/size: pdf (582K)
Date of entry/update: 24 January 2011