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Everyday Economic Survival in Myanmar

New Perspectives in Southeast Asian Studies
Series Editors: Alfred W. McCoy, Ian G. Baird, Katherine A. Bowie, and Anne Ruth Hansen
Associate Editors: Warwick H. Anderson, Ian Coxhead, Michael Cullinane, Paul D. Hutchcroft, and Kris Olds

“Required reading for students and professionals interested in political economy, development, aid, society, and culture in Myanmar and Southeast Asia, and within and beyond the field of Asian studies. Original and exciting.”
—Maitrii Aung-Thwin, National University of Singapore

Reforms in Myanmar (formerly Burma) have eased restrictions on citizens' political activities. Yet for most Burmese, Ardeth Maung Thawnghmung shows, eking out a living from day to day leaves little time for civic engagement. Citizens have coped with extreme hardship through great resourcefulness. But by making bad situations more tolerable in the short term, these coping strategies may hinder the emergence of the democratic values needed to sustain the country's transition to a more open political environment.

Thawnghmung conducted in-depth interviews and surveys of 372 individuals from all walks of life and across geographical locations in Myanmar between 2008 and 2015. To frame her analysis, she provides context from countries with comparable political and economic situations. Her findings will be welcomed by political scientists and policy analysts, as well by journalists and humanitarian activists looking for substantive, reliable information about everyday life in a country that remains largely in the shadows.


Ardeth Maung Thawnghmung Ardeth Maung Thawnghmung is a professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts. Growing up in Burma, she and her family employed many of the coping strategies she would later study. She is the author of several books, including Behind the Teak Curtain: Authoritarianism, Agricultural Policies, and Political Legitimacy in Rural Burma.




“Makes an important contribution to the literature on poverty in Myanmar.”
Journal of Contemporary Asia

“Impressive in its broad, cross-sectional scope.”
—Association of Southeast Asian Studies (ASEAS)

“Particularly exciting is Thawnghmung's attention to deference, noncompliance, accommodation, and participation in perpetuating the status quo.”
—Ken MacLean, Clark University


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Everyday Economic Survival in Myanmar

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January 2019
LC: 2018014267 HN
320 pp. 6 x 9
16 b/w illus., 1 map, 2 tables

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Casebound $79.95
ISBN 9780299320607
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