Economic Survival in Myanmar

Everyday Economic Survival in Myanmar is authored by political scientist Ardeth Maung Thawnghmung and recently published by the University of Wisconsin Press.

As Stephen Campbell of the School of Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, writes in his review of the book for JCA, Ardeth Maung Thawnghmung continues her research “focus on the lives and perspectives of ordinary folk.” In this book, “her aim is to provide a broad overview of the diverse strategies that people … employ to get by in the face of precarious economic circumstances. Analytically, the author seeks to intervene in the literature on everyday politics, resistance and coping strategies.”

Chapter 1 notes “that a person’s choice of coping strategy is influenced by their gender, ethnicity, religion, class and geographical location,” and this is followed by chapter length analysis of coping strategies: cost-cutting, diverse  occupations and livelihoods, varieties of associational life and religious practice. A sixth chapter “engages the question of whether coping strategies are best understood as a form of accommodation or as a form of resistance to the status quo.”

Campbell writes that the author argues that “many of the practices that individuals pursue to deal with the difficulties they confront serve to reproduce the larger structures of inequality and exploitation in the country.”

The reviewer concludes that “Everyday Economic Survival in Myanmar provides a useful introduction to the conditions of poverty in which so many people in the country continue to struggle.”

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