ABSTRACT

After decades of mismanagement and direct military rule, Myanmar’s contested transition to a more democratic government has rapidly shifted the outlook in this significant Southeast Asian nation. Since 2011, the removal of Western sanctions and new foreign investments have resulted in high rates of economic growth and an expanding middle class, albeit from a very low base. In a result unthinkable a few years earlier, former political prisoner and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), formed a national government in early 2016. However, despite significant political and economic reforms since the liberalisation process commenced, the transition to civilian rule remains constrained by the military’s 2008 Constitution, which guarantees that it operates unfettered by civilian oversight. As a result, although some ethnic conflicts have abated, others continue to fester and new conflicts have erupted. With a daunting task ahead the NLD government has made some progress in removing the vestiges of repressive military-era laws but many remain untouched and some of the practices of the new government provide unwelcome reminders of its authoritarian history.

This timely Handbook describes the political, economic, and cultural dimensions of this crucial period of transition in Myanmar. It presents explanations for contradictory trends, including those that defy some of the early narratives about the comprehensive transformation of Myanmar. The Handbook also considers the impact of major environmental, strategic, and demographic trends which help underscore that Myanmar’s development will be an ongoing task. In addition to introductory and concluding chapters by the editors, the body of the Handbook is divided into seven core sections:

• Fundamentals

• Spaces

• Cultures

• Living

• Governance

• International

• Challenges

Written by an international team of scholars, with a mix of world-leading established academics and talented emerging researchers, the Handbook provides a rigorous scholarly overview of Myanmar’s politics, economics, and society. As Myanmar opens to Western businesses and government agencies, this is an invaluable reference book that will provide a foundation for further research and offer the first port of call for scholars, students, and policy makers working on Myanmar and Asia.

part |11 pages

Introduction

chapter 1|9 pages

Explaining Myanmar in Flux and Transition

ByFarrelly Nicholas, Ian Holliday, Adam Simpson

part I|39 pages

Fundamentals

chapter 2|10 pages

The state

ByMaitrii Aung-Thwin

chapter 3|10 pages

The Defence Services

ByAndrew Selth

chapter 4|8 pages

Democracy

ByJohn H. Badgley, Ian Holliday

chapter 5|9 pages

Ethnicity and Identity

ByViolet Cho

part 53|62 pages

Spaces

chapter 6|9 pages

The Capital

ByNicholas Farrelly

chapter 7|8 pages

Urban

ByJayde Lin Roberts

chapter 8|11 pages

Rural

ByArdeth Maung Thawnghmung

chapter 9|9 pages

Borderlands

ByPatrick Meehan, Mandy Sadan

chapter 10|14 pages

Cyber-spaces

ByGerard McCarthy

chapter 11|9 pages

Anomalous Spaces

ByNicholas Farrelly

part III|64 pages

Cultures

chapter 12|9 pages

Languages

ByDavid Bradley

chapter 13|10 pages

Religion

ByCharles Carstens

chapter 14|10 pages

Arts

ByCharlotte Galloway

chapter 15|12 pages

Public discourse

ByThomas Kean

chapter 16|11 pages

Exiles

ByInga Gruß

chapter 17|10 pages

Youth

ByJacqueline Menager

part 4|45 pages

Living

chapter 18|11 pages

Political Economy

ByLee Jones

chapter 19|10 pages

Agriculture

ByIkuko Okamoto

chapter 20|10 pages

Banking and Finance

ByThomas Förch

chapter 21|12 pages

Foreign Direct Investment and Trade

ByJared Bissinger

part 5|63 pages

Governance

chapter 22|9 pages

The Executive

ByIan Holliday, Su Mon Thazin Aung

chapter 23|12 pages

Legislature

ByRenaud Egreteau, Cindy Joelene

chapter 24|9 pages

Judiciary

ByMelissa Crouch

chapter 25|11 pages

Civil Society

ByChristina Fink, Adam Simpson

chapter 26|11 pages

Education

ByMarie Lall

chapter 27|9 pages

Health

ByCéline Coderey

part VI|67 pages

International

chapter 28|9 pages

The World

ByDavid I. Steinberg

chapter 29|12 pages

Regional

ByJürgen Haacke

chapter 30|12 pages

Neighbourhood

ByRenaud Egreteau, Li Chenyang

chapter 31|11 pages

International Non-Governmental Organisations and Advocacy

ByJohn Dale, Samantha Samuel-Nakka

chapter 32|12 pages

International Law and Inter-Governmental Organisations

ByTyler Giannini, Matthew Bugher

chapter 33|9 pages

International Assistance

ByIan Holliday, Zaw Htet

part VII|74 pages

Challenges

chapter 34|12 pages

Peace and Reconciliation

ByKim Jolliffe

chapter 35|10 pages

Democracy and Human Rights

ByMorten B. Pedersen

chapter 36|12 pages

Gender

ByMa Khin Mar Mar Kyi

chapter 37|11 pages

Nation-Building

ByMatthew J. Walton

chapter 38|13 pages

Class and inequality

ByElliott Prasse-Freeman, Phyo Win Latt

chapter 39|14 pages

Environment and natural resources

ByAdam Simpson

part |8 pages

Conclusion

chapter 40|6 pages

Myanmar futures

ByAdam Simpson, Ian Holliday, Nicholas Farrelly