chapter  28
15 Pages

The moral economy of the Myawaddy–Mae Sot border

WithSu-Ann Oh

This chapter examines the moral sentiments, values, norms, and affects that circulate among the myriad populations in the Myawaddy-Mae Sot border space – refugees, migrants, the internally displaced, Karen villagers, Thai communities of both Tai and other ethnicities, animist and Muslim groups, industrialists, traders and business people. This is turn shapes the ideologies and (cross-border) activities of this region. Using the concept of moral economy and its connection with the circulation of objects, the chapter argues that the ideologies of international notions of (secular) humanitarianism, local understandings of self-help, and political and religious imaginaries have coalesced in this border to produce a somewhat unusual perspective on “helping others”. The chapter concludes by situating the moral economy of this region within a geographical and historical context, and offers some reflections on its future configuration.