Assembling Drones, Activists and Oil Palms: Implications of a Multi-stakeholder Land Platform for State Formation in Myanmar

Bächtold, Stefan; Bastide, Joan; Lundsgaard-Hansen, Lara (2020). Assembling Drones, Activists and Oil Palms: Implications of a Multi-stakeholder Land Platform for State Formation in Myanmar. The European journal of development research, 32(2), pp. 359-378. Springer 10.1057/s41287-020-00267-y

[img] Text (Assembling Drones, Activists and Oil Palms: Implications of a Multi-stakeholder Land Platform for State Formation in Myanmar)
Bächtold2020_Article_AssemblingDronesActivistsAndOi.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to registered users only
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (599kB) | Request a copy

Amid Myanmar’s political transition and despite its new government’s discourse of inclusion and dialogue, land conflicts have increased across the country’s ethnic-minority areas. We argue that land plays a central role in the complex interplay of state formation, armed conflict and international development in Myanmar’s con-tested borderlands and that land conflicts can provide an entry point to make sense of these dynamics. We use ethnographic data and a framework combining Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of assemblages with Foucault’s conception of power to pro-vide a detailed analysis of a multi-stakeholder platform (MSP) addressing land dis-putes in Myanmar’s south-east. Analysing the platform’s discourses, practices and technologies, we argue that, despite its emphasis on inclusion, participation and dia-logue, it is the operation of power that upholds this inherently conflictive assem-blage. The platform opens spaces for agency for less-influential actors, but it equally produces de-politicising and exclusive effects. While scholars have typically used assemblage thinking to analyse how state authority is disassembled by the grow-ing role of non-state actors, we aim to further post-structural reflections on state formation and international development by arguing that the central state in Myan-mar actually expands its reach into the borderlands through assemblages such as the MSP. This happens at the expense of the authority of quasi-state formations of eth-nic armed organisations. Thus, this process is reminiscent of how the Burmese state expanded its reach through assemblages of land and resource extraction during the ‘ceasefire capitalism’ before the transition.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Geographies of Sustainability > Unit Critical Sustainability Studies (CSS)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Geographies of Sustainability > Unit Land Systems and Sustainable Land Management (LS-SLM)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Geographies of Sustainability
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
10 Strategic Research Centers > Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

Graduate School:

International Graduate School North-South (IGS North-South)

UniBE Contributor:

Bastide, Joan and Lundsgaard, Lara Maria

Subjects:

900 History > 910 Geography & travel

ISSN:

0957-8811

Publisher:

Springer

Projects:

[1047] Managing Telecoupled Landscapes for Sustainable Provision of Ecosystem Services and Poeverty Alleviation
[803] Cluster: Land Resources
[805] Sustainability Governance
[804] Socio-Economic Transition

Language:

English

Submitter:

Stephan Schmidt

Date Deposited:

29 May 2020 16:32

Last Modified:

31 May 2020 02:45

Publisher DOI:

10.1057/s41287-020-00267-y

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Myanmar, Burma, Development, State-building, Land, Assemblage, Multi-stakeholder platform

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.144105

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/144105

Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback