Ardeth Maung ThawnghmungJan 22, 2021
Everyday Economic Survival in Myanmar
University of Wisconsin Press 2019
Reforms in Myanmar (formerly Burma) have eased restrictions on citizens' political activities. Yet for most Burmese, Ardeth Maung Thawnghmung shows in Everyday Economic Survival in Myanmar (U Wisconsin Press, 2019), 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.
Anyone interested in political economy, development, or culture in Myanmar or more generally will find Everyday Economic Survival in Myanmar an insightful and intellectually provocative read.
John W. Traphagan, Ph.D. is Professor and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Fellow in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is also a professor in the Program in Human Dimensions of Organizations.