The Newsletter 71 Summer 2015

State violence, state building. Civilian responses among the Karen of southeast Burma

Alexander HorstmannTomas Cole

Militarized borderlands come into being through a plethora of social, political, and economic processes. We see the borders of Europe, Australia and the US being militarized in response to the perceived threat of illegal immigrants. In Asia, too, we fi nd a wealth of examples of militarized borders, yet these often emerge through different processes. In many cases the borderlands between two or more Asian countries become militarized where borderlines are highly contested such as the India-Pakistan border, the Korean peninsula or the sea border between China and Taiwan. In other instances, through the expansionist ambitions of the state and the suppression of ethnic minorities at its fringes, certain groups are caught in an Agambian state of exception. This is the case of the Karen and Karenni in southeastern Burma.