PRIO & University of Oslo
Following half a century of military rule, political changes and reform processes started taking place in Myanmar from 2011 as the new government of President Thein Sein came into power. From this time, what has been called Myanmar's transition period began lasting up until the military again conducted a coup on 1 February 2021. In their introduction to Waves of Upheaval in Myanmar, the editors present the book's aim: 'To understand the 2021 military coup and the current configuration of masculinized, military dictatorship, as well as the unprecedented role played by women in the on-going pro-democracy protests, we argue that it is necessary to examine the gendered dynamics and effects of the decade of political transition in Myanmar which came before it.' Bringing together Burmese and foreign scholars and activists, the 12 chapters provide invaluable insights into gendered everyday experiences during the transition and gendered politics of formal state processes and institutions. A particular strength of the book is the in-depth knowledge it provides into how gendered relations and norms are experienced and negotiated in different ways across the country. The authors take us to Shan State, Mon State, Kachin State, Kayah State, Karen State, Rakhine State, Tanintharyi Region, Yangon, Cox's Bazaar in Bangladesh, and various places in Thailand to explore diverse gendered dynamics and processes. The book convincingly demonstrates how the political transition was accompanied both by gendered transformations and continuities, and it importantly highlights how gender dynamics intersect with ethnic, religious and class inequalities. Waves of Upheaval in Myanmar should be read by everyone who is trying to understand current developments in Myanmar.