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Title: An Examination of the State of Nation-Building in Myanmar
Keywords: Myanmar, perceptions on nation-building, reach of state
Issue Date: 26-Nov-2009
Citation: INGA GRUSS (2009-11-26). An Examination of the State of Nation-Building in Myanmar. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This thesis explores the issue of nation-building in Myanmar. It focuses on the post-colonial period and examines the attempts of the state to mould the Myanmar nation according to the notion of the state and its ideology. The perceptions of veteran politicians and civil society actors on the nation-building project will be compared with de facto experiences about the state of nation-building in Myanmar. The conduct of state and society during the relief work in the early phase of the cyclone Nargis is used as case study to put assumptions, opinions and propaganda about nation-building inMyanmar to test.The main question guiding my research relates to the ideological reach of the state. How far does the reach of the state go, in particular when it enjoys little domestic public support and popularity, in influencing its population ideologically? Which role can a state play in a case like Myanmar in forming and building a nation? It is argued that the contemporary state project of nation-building is buildaround fabricated notions of a need for national unity. This strong emphasis on national unity is based upon concern over both the multi ethnic composition of Myanmar and the imminent threat of foreign nations that linger to endanger the sovereignty of the Myanmar state. The military is portrayed as a strong unified body that can overcome divisions inside the country and protect the country from foreign invasion. Most interviewees reject the nation-building project of the state. Nevertheless, the states endeavour has resulted in the creation of a sense of nationhood. Yet, it is not the content of the project itself that has yielded fruit, but it is the performance of the state while delivering the project that has created a common sense of nationhood. The state has repeatedly acted in a hostile way towards society in its nation-building project. The contents are meaningless and aim at glorifying the role of the state. The state showslittle skill in approaching its citizens and has offered no ideological national platform for people to identify with.Although this ideological platform has failed to materialise the state has provided itself as the necessary platform for creating a sense of nationhood. During the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis the state showed little respect or concern for thevictims and thereby enforced what lingered for a long time, an expression of nationhood that is centred around a common dislike of the state.
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses (Open)

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