Saturday, September 17, 2011

New Ph.D. thesis about Burmese authoritarianism and resistence - from GWU

Only other dissertation besides mine which attempts theory building on a macro-scale and addresses authoritarianism in Burma.

Kyi May Kaung

--- On Sat, 9/17/11,

Subject: "Challenge and Survival: Political Resistance in Authoritarian Burma": A freshly archived PhD thesis
Date: Saturday, September 17, 2011, 5:31 AM

Author: Linnea M. Beatty,
Title: "Challenge and Survival: Political Resistance in Authoritarian Burma"
Place: George Washington University
Date: August 31, 2011
Supervisor: Professor Henry Hale


Dissertation Abstract:

"Burma‘s dictatorial government maintains its power by coupling
political repression and social control methods to cultivate a
compliant citizenry. Yet non-violent and violent opposition to
military rule continues. Armed resistance groups began fighting for
independence and autonomy from the state prior to Burma‘s
independence. Large-scale protests occurred in every decade since
military takeover in 1962, the most recent were the monks’ protests in
September 2007.
How do oppositions maintain their ability to challenge an
authoritarian state over long periods? Authoritarian conditions
necessitate that opposition movements resist by utilizing two
imperatives: challenging the regime and ensuring their own survival.
Resistance in Burma encompasses the offensive position of the
challenge imperative and the defensive position of the survival

Challenge activities confront the authority of the governing regime;
the authoritarian government and its entities are the primary
audience, although it is beneficial if other segments of society
witness the action. Oppositional activities do more than just
challenge the state. Oppositions conduct activities that also ensure
their survival in the face of repression. Political activities serve
to signal in-group solidarity, transfer information to other facets of
the political movement and encourage long-term participation. For an
opposition to survive repression, member retention is critical and
activist family networks help individuals overcome regime-constraints
to participation.

The challenge and survival imperatives demonstrate that protest does
not erupt ‘from out of nowhere.’ Over-relying on protest as a proxy
measure of the existence of opposition overlooks the wide range of
resistance options available to discontented citizens, especially
those living under authoritarian rule. Using a protest events dataset
and interviews with activists, soldiers and citizens of Burma, this
dissertation examines the range of political resistance used in Burma
to challenge the dictatorial regime."