The Newsletter 52 Winter 2009

The State and statism in Burma (Myanmar)

Donald M. Seekins

Taylor, Robert H. 2009. The State in Myanmar. London: Hurst and Company, xxv + 555 pages. ISBN 978 1 85065 893

In 1987, veteran Burma specialist Robert Taylor published The State in Burma, an analysis of the country’s politics beginning in dynastic times and ending with the one-party socialist state established by General Ne Win. He closed the book with the following passage: “The all-encompassing ideology of the [Burma Socialist Programme] Party appears to be reflected in public and private discourse and, at least at the verbal level, its message is accepted… Most people have contact with the Party and the People’s Councils in their daily life, and the local agents of the state who live in the community are recognized and used as intermediaries with the authorities at the middle and top levels of the state. For better or worse, the state is accepted as inevitable and dominates other institutions.”

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