Experiences of Imprisonment in Myanmar: Narratives of Political Subjectivity, Repression and Resistance

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Abstract

For the last decade, major changes have taken place in Myanmar as the
country transitioned from military rule, to ‘disciplined democracy’ as
dictated by the 2008 constitution and with the accession of the quasi civilian
government in 2010 and the civilian government in 2016. Still, remnants
from the past are visible in the 25% of seats in parliament allocated to the
army and ongoing armed conflicts. In this dynamic context of change, this
paper studies how political subjectivity unfolds among prisoners as they are
confronted with state authority in prisons. This paper presents preliminary
findings from 8 month’s ethnographic fieldwork with former prisoners in
Myanmar. Through first-hand accounts of experiences of imprisonment lived
through by subjects from various political and ethnic groups at different
points in history (from the uprising in 1988 to the student protests in 2015)
the paper explores: (1) the ways imprisonment affects people while in prison and after release and (2) what role (former) prisoners play in the political
development in Myanmar. The paper explores how different techniques of
governance are applied to, acted upon, and experienced by subjects of the state
through a phenomenological approach to prisoners’ individual experiences.
Thus, experiences of imprisonment serve as a window through which to study
connections between imprisonment, the state and national identity in a time of
transition
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventConference of the European Association for Southeast Asian Studies - University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
Duration: 16 Aug 201718 Aug 2017
Conference number: 9
https://euroseas2017.wordpress.com/

Conference

ConferenceConference of the European Association for Southeast Asian Studies
Number9
LocationUniversity of Oxford
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityOxford
Period16/08/201718/08/2017
Internet address

Keywords

  • Prison
  • Political Subjectivity
  • Resistance
  • Myanmar

Cite this

Gaborit, L. S. (2017). Experiences of Imprisonment in Myanmar: Narratives of Political Subjectivity, Repression and Resistance. Paper presented at Conference of the European Association for Southeast Asian Studies, Oxford, United Kingdom.