Grant TypePost PhD Research Grant
Institutional AffiliationMichigan, Ann Arbor, U. of
Grant numberGr. 9467
Approve DateApril 25, 2017
Project TitleMcGovern, Dr. Michael T., U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Culture and Contestation: Non-violent Challenges to the State by Ethnic Minorities in Myanmar'
MICHAEL T. McGOVERN, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, received funding in April 2017 to aid research on “Culture and Contestation: Non-violent Challenges to the State by Ethnic Minorities in Myanmar.” The funded research took place in a village of about 3,000 inhabitants of three different ethnic minority groups—Danu, Shan, and Pa-O—in southern Shan State, Myanmar. The research was conducted from September 2017 through May 2018 and was organized around participant observation especially with five farming families of different ethnicities and socio-economic statuses in the village (5 months) followed by a mix of participant observation and life history interviews of 35 villagers. Key findings included: 1. Most farmers in the research region are relatively prosperous, and the relative security of land tenure and use rights has played an important role in farmers’ willingness to invest in agriculture. This situation is not representative of the whole country, and may even be considered anomalous. 2. Most villagers are pious and not prone to xenophobia or bigotry, though they are primed to follow whatever their local monks tell them is right. Within the sangha of Buddhist practitioners, ethnic differences amongst ethnic minorities are not considered important. 3. A process of ethnogenesis is underway in the non-Bama regions of the country in those places where the expression of minority ethnic identity is no longer actively suppressed by the government.