Annika Pohl Harrisson

Aarhus University & Danish Institute for International Research (DIIS), Anthropology

Annika Pohl Harrisson
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Everyday Justice and Security in Mon State

After 65 years of armed conflict and contested statehood, Myanmar has recently initiated a transition aimed at moving away from state authoritarianism and international isolation towards a more open political system. Several decades of armed conflict and changing ceasefires have led the population subject to numerous authorities and stakeholders in the conflict – ranging from the army, government officials, ethnic armed groups, ceasefire forces/armed splinter groups, political party leaders, local militias, traditional village heads and religious leaders.  All these actors make rules, extract resources, provide protection, and order a moral universe in a competitive environment, often alongside more recent civil society and community-based organizations. The result is a range of ‘systems of authority’ that vary across different localities, which due to their histories of conflict have each had shifting territorial boundaries and successive population movements. Very little research-based knowledge exists on how governance is actually performed at village/township level in Myanmar.

In this context, my PhD project deals with how everyday justice and security are perceived and distributed in Myanmar’s Mon State, and explores how this contributes to the constitution of various forms of authority.