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Civil Society under Authoritarian Rule: The Case of Myanmar


  • Jasmin Lorch


While it is often assumed that the strong military regime of Myanmar does not allow any room for manoeuvre, this article argues that spaces for civil society actors do exist within three specific areas: firstly, within the ambit of changes within the state itself; secondly, in various sectors of the weak welfare state; and thirdly, within some of the negotiated spaces of relative ethnic autonomy in ceasefire areas. While these rooms for manoeuvre are always relational to the authoritarian nature of the military regime, civil society actors use every space available in order to tackle the welfare needs of their respective communities. To study civil society developments in the authoritarian context of Myanmar the author develops primal approaches to a relational understanding of civil society and the scope of action it has.

Suggested Citation

  • Jasmin Lorch, 2006. "Civil Society under Authoritarian Rule: The Case of Myanmar," Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, Institute of Asian Studies, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 25(2), pages 3-38.
  • Handle: RePEc:gig:soaktu:v:25:y:2006:i:2:p:3-38

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    Cited by:

    1. Kristina Jönsson, 2010. "Unity-in-Diversity? Regional Identity-building in Southeast Asia," Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, Institute of Asian Studies, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 29(2), pages 41-72.

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