- Living with four polities
- States and cross-border flows in the Myanmar-Thailand borderland
- Award date
- 13 December 2017
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
Living with Four Polities: States and Cross-border Flows in the Myanmar-Thailand Borderland detangles the multifacetedness of one of Asia’s most dynamic borderlands. Based on 12-months ethnographic fieldwork on the border between Myanmar’s southern Shan State and northwest Thailand, this dissertation illuminates the intersection of cross-border mobility and border control within the highly complex interactions of various state and state-like actors. At least four polities operating include the Thai state, the Myanmar state, a powerful border elite referred to as the ‘Maha Ja family,’ and an armed ethnic insurgent group, the Shan State Army-South (SSA-S). The findings show that the political boundaries of non-state actors can come to be more significant to the daily lives of cross-border communities than those of nation-states.
This dissertation also presents the specific history of state transformation through the framework of three successive regimes—namely, frontier, border, and mobility. The three regimes are understood as implemented forms of ideologies of regulations, procedures, agreements among border communities, and informal strategies initiated by social actors. This work argues that the meeting of state border control and cross-border communities does not result in an absolute restriction to the flows of people or commodity across the border. Rather, the dialectics of border security and the permeability of the border reveal that the attempts of state and non-state actors to stringently demarcate the border results in an increase in rescaling of the border by communities in order to maintain their mobility and the porosity of the border.
Thesis (complete) (Embargo up to and including 13 December 2017)
Chapter 2: State configurations and resource control: An historical perspective (Embargo up to and including 13 December 2019)
Chapter 3: Strategic space, outwitting and arbitrary rules (Embargo up to and including 13 December 2019)
Chapter 4: Paradoxes of border control bureaucracy (Embargo up to and including 13 December 2019)
Chapter 5: Diversifying meanings of commodities and state performance (Embargo up to and including 13 December 2019)
Chapter 6: From flexible frontier to surveillance by regulation (Embargo up to and including 13 December 2019)
Chapter 7: Dynamic mobility: Shifting between trader and labor migrant (Embargo up to and including 13 December 2019)
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