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Re-examining the centrality of ethnic Identity to the Kachin conflict
chapterposted on 01.08.2016, 00:00 authored by Costas LaoutidesCostas Laoutides, Anthony WareAnthony Ware
This paper seeks to reframe the conventional characterization of Kachin conflict which is anchored in ethnicity. Based on a series of interviews the paper focuses on how power is framed and contested in relation to processes of identification. Identity is defined as the politicised manifestation of ideological underpinnings associated with the distribution and management of political power. Thus the paper draws together field research conducted by the authors in late 2014, with theoretical discussion around key ideas often employed in analysing these conflicts: 'ethnicity', 'national race', 'identity', 'territory' and 'resource' conflict. The paper concludes that 'ethnicity' has become the outward manifestation of a conflict that is actually far more deeply underpinned by issues of political rights and distribution, state power versus decentralisation, the quest for equality and freedom, and the question of who constitute the demos in Myanmar’s democracy.