Exploring Ethnic Diversity in Burma

$48.00 SGD

edited by Mikael Gravers

While the image of modern Myanmar/Burma tends to be couched in human rights terms – and especially of a heroic Aung San Suu Kyi opposing an oppressive military regime – in reality there are several conflicts with ethnic and religious dimensions, as well as political and ideological differences between the opposition and the ruling military regime. This is not surprising in a country where 30% of the population and much of the land area are non-Burman, and where contradictory tendencies towards regional separatism versus unitary rule have divided the people since before independence. In what is probably the most comprehensive study of Burma’s ethnic minorities to date, this volume discusses the historical formation of ethnic identity and its complexities in relation to British colonial rule as well as to the modern state, the present situation of military rule and its policy of 'Myanmarification’. Changes of identity in exile and due to religious conversion are also analysed and discussed. Finally, the book deals with relevant and recent anthropological and sociological theoretical discussions on the ethnic identity, boundaries and space of all the main ethnic groups in Burma. It probes into the complexity and diversity of ethnicity in Burma and it provides more details and up-to-date information than previously collected in one volume.

"[A] much-needed interdisciplinary addition to Southeast Asian Studies in general, as well as Burma studies in particular, as it unites the work of eight scholars of Burma to discuss the various issues of ethnic categorisation, politics and conceptualisation in the country.’ – Jane Ferguson, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 40 (3) 'A well-informed academic volume such as this on ethinicity in Burma has been much needed, and any audience will find the chapters richly informative and many of them stimulating.’ – Hayami Yoko, Southeast Asian Studies, 46 (3) '[S]imply a must for scholars concerned with Burmese society as well as for anyone interested in the future of this country or the complexities of ethnic identification." – Roland Mischung, Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, 28 (4)

Mikael Gravers is an anthropologist now retired from the University of Aarhus but still active. Widely respected for his research on Burmese issues (especially on the Karen of Burma and Thailand).

Publication year: 2007
304 pp / 229mm x 152mm
3 maps, 21 figures
ISBN: 978-87-91114-96-0, Paperback

NIAS Press