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Annika Pohl Harrisson

States-within-States: Encompassed State-Making and Everyday Life in Southeast Myanmar

Research output: Book/anthology/dissertation/reportPh.D. thesisResearch

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States-within-States : Encompassed State-Making and Everyday Life in Southeast Myanmar. / Harrisson, Annika Pohl.

2019. 194 p.

Research output: Book/anthology/dissertation/reportPh.D. thesisResearch

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@phdthesis{259144b2d1b140d18356e6ad0c0e7353,
title = "States-within-States: Encompassed State-Making and Everyday Life in Southeast Myanmar",
abstract = "The central theme of this article based dissertation are the effects of overlapping and contested processes of state-making on sociality and subjectivity in Southeast Myanmar, which for 60 years and until recently was marred by armed conflict. Through an empirical exploration of dispute resolution and security provision, I analyse the affective effects of state making in a geographic region where several states make claims to assert authority, regulate everyday life and produce forms of national belonging. In my field area, the internationally recognised Myanmar state co-exists more or less with two ethnic armed organisations the Karen National Union (KNU) and the New Mon State Party (NMSP) that for six decades have been involved in an ethno-nationalist struggle and have engaged in state-making processes in opposition to the Myanmar state. These organisations continue to exert control in some areas of the region, although they today have signed ceasefires with and are engaging in political negotiations with the Myanmar state. In my work I pose questions about the everyday life in this area. How is legitimate authority constituted in practice? How are everyday justice and local politics negotiated? How are ethnicity, nationality and belonging intertwined? How does a history of 60 years of military dictatorship affect sociality and subjectivity? And how does 60 years of insurgency and contested state-making? I collected the ethnographic material for these topics during eleven months of ethnographic fieldwork between 2015 and 2017 in two distinct field sites: One is a poor urban neighbourhood in the city of Mawlamyine, which is located inside Mon State under Myanmar state control. The other is a rural area which is located in the neighbouring Karen state, but controlled by the NMSP, and surrounded by villages that are controlled by the KNU.These states-within-states are, I suggest, both in opposition to each other and mimic each other by drawing on similar state-making practices, symbols and imaginaries. Thus, while I examine the two different states, NMSP and Myanmar, I also explore the relationships between them. I am comparing the encompassed with the encompassing, and not two separate and opposed states. I thus propose the concepts of {\textquoteleft}encompassed state-making and living{\textquoteright}. Inspired by Louis Dumont, my conclusion is that in the material discussed in the dissertation, the encompassed part can be in opposition to the encompassing part whilst also mimicking it: encompassment and opposition at the same time. This is not merely an analytical insight, but a way of life, a circumstance, a condition: inherent when actions and sociality unfold. ",
keywords = "state-making, justice and security, Myanmar, Authority, sovereignty, Anthropology of the state, borderlands, rebel governance, encompassment",
author = "Harrisson, {Annika Pohl}",
year = "2019",
language = "English",

}

RIS

TY - BOOK

T1 - States-within-States

T2 - Encompassed State-Making and Everyday Life in Southeast Myanmar

AU - Harrisson, Annika Pohl

PY - 2019

Y1 - 2019

N2 - The central theme of this article based dissertation are the effects of overlapping and contested processes of state-making on sociality and subjectivity in Southeast Myanmar, which for 60 years and until recently was marred by armed conflict. Through an empirical exploration of dispute resolution and security provision, I analyse the affective effects of state making in a geographic region where several states make claims to assert authority, regulate everyday life and produce forms of national belonging. In my field area, the internationally recognised Myanmar state co-exists more or less with two ethnic armed organisations the Karen National Union (KNU) and the New Mon State Party (NMSP) that for six decades have been involved in an ethno-nationalist struggle and have engaged in state-making processes in opposition to the Myanmar state. These organisations continue to exert control in some areas of the region, although they today have signed ceasefires with and are engaging in political negotiations with the Myanmar state. In my work I pose questions about the everyday life in this area. How is legitimate authority constituted in practice? How are everyday justice and local politics negotiated? How are ethnicity, nationality and belonging intertwined? How does a history of 60 years of military dictatorship affect sociality and subjectivity? And how does 60 years of insurgency and contested state-making? I collected the ethnographic material for these topics during eleven months of ethnographic fieldwork between 2015 and 2017 in two distinct field sites: One is a poor urban neighbourhood in the city of Mawlamyine, which is located inside Mon State under Myanmar state control. The other is a rural area which is located in the neighbouring Karen state, but controlled by the NMSP, and surrounded by villages that are controlled by the KNU.These states-within-states are, I suggest, both in opposition to each other and mimic each other by drawing on similar state-making practices, symbols and imaginaries. Thus, while I examine the two different states, NMSP and Myanmar, I also explore the relationships between them. I am comparing the encompassed with the encompassing, and not two separate and opposed states. I thus propose the concepts of ‘encompassed state-making and living’. Inspired by Louis Dumont, my conclusion is that in the material discussed in the dissertation, the encompassed part can be in opposition to the encompassing part whilst also mimicking it: encompassment and opposition at the same time. This is not merely an analytical insight, but a way of life, a circumstance, a condition: inherent when actions and sociality unfold.

AB - The central theme of this article based dissertation are the effects of overlapping and contested processes of state-making on sociality and subjectivity in Southeast Myanmar, which for 60 years and until recently was marred by armed conflict. Through an empirical exploration of dispute resolution and security provision, I analyse the affective effects of state making in a geographic region where several states make claims to assert authority, regulate everyday life and produce forms of national belonging. In my field area, the internationally recognised Myanmar state co-exists more or less with two ethnic armed organisations the Karen National Union (KNU) and the New Mon State Party (NMSP) that for six decades have been involved in an ethno-nationalist struggle and have engaged in state-making processes in opposition to the Myanmar state. These organisations continue to exert control in some areas of the region, although they today have signed ceasefires with and are engaging in political negotiations with the Myanmar state. In my work I pose questions about the everyday life in this area. How is legitimate authority constituted in practice? How are everyday justice and local politics negotiated? How are ethnicity, nationality and belonging intertwined? How does a history of 60 years of military dictatorship affect sociality and subjectivity? And how does 60 years of insurgency and contested state-making? I collected the ethnographic material for these topics during eleven months of ethnographic fieldwork between 2015 and 2017 in two distinct field sites: One is a poor urban neighbourhood in the city of Mawlamyine, which is located inside Mon State under Myanmar state control. The other is a rural area which is located in the neighbouring Karen state, but controlled by the NMSP, and surrounded by villages that are controlled by the KNU.These states-within-states are, I suggest, both in opposition to each other and mimic each other by drawing on similar state-making practices, symbols and imaginaries. Thus, while I examine the two different states, NMSP and Myanmar, I also explore the relationships between them. I am comparing the encompassed with the encompassing, and not two separate and opposed states. I thus propose the concepts of ‘encompassed state-making and living’. Inspired by Louis Dumont, my conclusion is that in the material discussed in the dissertation, the encompassed part can be in opposition to the encompassing part whilst also mimicking it: encompassment and opposition at the same time. This is not merely an analytical insight, but a way of life, a circumstance, a condition: inherent when actions and sociality unfold.

KW - state-making

KW - justice and security

KW - Myanmar

KW - Authority

KW - sovereignty

KW - Anthropology of the state

KW - borderlands

KW - rebel governance

KW - encompassment

M3 - Ph.D. thesis

BT - States-within-States

ER -