This edited volume adds to the literature on Myanmar and its borders by drawing attention to the significance of geography, history, politics and society in the construction of the border regions and the country. First, it alerts us to the fact that the border regions are situated in the mountainous and maritime domains of the country, highlighting the commonalities that arise from shared geography. Second, the book foregrounds socio-spatio practices — economic, intimate, spiritual, virtual — of border and boundary-making in their local context. This demonstrates how state-defined notions of territory, borders and identity are enacted or challenged. Third, despite sharing common features, Myanmar’s borderscapes also possess unique configurations of ethnic, political and economic attributes, producing social formations and figured worlds that are more cohesive or militant in some border areas than in others. Understanding and comparing these social practices and their corresponding life-worlds allows us to re-examine the connections from the borderlands back to the hinterland and to consider the value of border and boundary studies in problematizing and conceptualizing recent changes in Myanmar.
“This ambitious project combines sophisticated theorization of boundary-making as a form of social practice and empirical studies of Myanmar’s heterogeneous borderlands, both land and sea. Seeing the country from its edges opens up a provocative and altogether novel vision of the contestations joining diverse peripheries and centre. This volume brings together the leading scholars of the country in a collection that is a must-have for anyone interested in contemporary Myanmar, border studies, and Southeast Asia.”
– Itty Abraham, Head, Department of Southeast Asian Studies, National University of Singapore (NUS)
“This is the first book to attempt to bring together such a diverse range of Myanmar’s land and maritime border regions for comparison. In doing so, it highlights the diversity of the country’s demographic, social, economic and political make-up when viewed from the margins rather than the centre. It reveals how these border regions help to constitute the nation and how they shape what modern Myanmar is today — they also give strong indicators of what it might become. This is an essential read for anyone in the social sciences interested in borderlands, as well as those requiring a broader understanding of the challenges facing the contemporary Myanmar government as it attempts to usher in social and political cohesion following decades of conflict.”
– Mandy Sadan, Reader in the History of South East Asia, School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS)