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Susan Banki

Jun 17, 2021

Homeland Activists Without a Home

Why Proximity and Precarity Matter for Myanmar’s Refugees

SSEAC Stories 2021

February 2021 witnessed yet another military coup in Myanmar. Whether it was unexpected or entirely predictable is, perhaps, a matter of debate. But what is without a doubt different this time around is the way the population of Myanmar has responded, with younger generations in particular taking to social media to call for change, in a bid to avoid the suffering of their parents’ generation. Among those actors pressing for change are members of the diaspora, many of whom spent years in refugee camps and who continue to live proximate to Myanmar.

On World Refugee Day, Dr Susan Banki joins Dr Natali Pearson on SSEAC Stories to discuss the political mobilisation of refugee and migrant populations from Myanmar seeking to enact change in their home country, arguing that the physical proximity of these diaspora communities is key to their empowerment, but has, until now, been relatively unexplored.

About Dr Susan Banki:

Susan Banki is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Sydney. Her current research examines the ways in which refugee and migrant populations mobilise for change in their home countries, with a particular focus on refugees from Myanmar and Bhutan. She has recently completed a manuscript about the political mobilisation of Bhutanese refugees in Nepal. In the wake of the coup in Myanmar, she has been writing and speaking about the coup and its aftermath for a range of media outlets, including the Sydney Morning Herald, the Conversation, ABC National Radio’s Late Night Live, and ABC’s the News Hour.

For more information or to browse additional resources, visit the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s website: www.sydney.edu.au/sseac.

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Natali Pearson

Dr Natali Pearson is Curriculum Coordinator at the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre, a university-wide multidisciplinary center at the University of Sydney, Australia. Her research focuses on the protection, management and interpretation of underwater cultural heritage in Southeast Asia.
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