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Paing - Daughters of Good Lineage and Bitchy Prostitutes

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In this article, we report a study of the uses of mobile video telephony based on the collection and analysis of naturally occurring mobile and Skype video exchanges, with a focus on camera motions. We provide evidence for a set of phenomena characteristic of the organization of “video-in-interaction”: (a) mobile and Skype video calls are patterned, often alternating between a “talking heads” arrangement, in which both participants are on-screen and facing the camera, and moments in which they are producing various shots of their environment in line with their current interactional purposes; (b) openings occur almost always in the talking heads arrangement; (c) the video images on either side are produced and expected to be scrutinized with respect to their relevance to the ongoing interaction; (d) the talking heads arrangement is oriented to a default mode of interaction, with the implication that when there is nothing else relevant to show, the participants should show themselves on-screen; (e) in multiparty interactions, the party who is handling the video communication apparatus has an obligation to put other speakers on-screen when they talk, and the video callers orient to their appearance on-screen as making a distinctive participation status relevant. We show how these phenomena all derive from an orientation toward a single maxim, “put the face of the current speaker on-screen,” which plays a foundational role in the organization of video-in-interaction and its articulation with that of talk-in-interaction.
Burma and ethnicity are nearly synonymous, whether when thinking about the diversity of the country, or when analyzing the conflict that has yet to be fully resolved. Ethnicity forms such a naturalized part of the intellectual landscape dealing with the country that few have stopped to consider its complex relationship with language. The decades-long closure of the country means that the ideas of earlier scholarship still continue to hold powerful sway. With new possibilities for travel and research inside, thanks to the political changes starting in 2010, foreign researchers have recently been able to move around more in the country, to observe patterns of language-use, and to speak with people about their thoughts concerning their own identities. This special issue moves forward a long-stalled reconsideration to argue that the relationship between language, ethnicity, and identity in Burma is not necessarily timeless, a given, or set in stone. Rather, language may be one element informing an ongoing process and negotiation that various groups engage in to define themselves in relation to others.
Right now, Myanmar is a fascinating place to do research on a society as it moves from isolation to openness. During the time I spent in Myanmar doing qualitative field research, I noticed a gap between the literature about the position of women in Myanmar and the situation I came across in the field. This paper will first examine the existing literature on women in Myanmar including recent contributions, publications from the colonial time and during the time after the country gained independence. Secondly, I will expound on my field data relating to women in society and the power held by women within families and households. Finally, I will highlight the gap that arose in comparing literature and the data gained from my field research. I conclude that there is a sharp distinction between the different points of views of authors. Claims and statements of different authors can only be compared if attention is paid to the differing perspectives and their respective methodologies.
Saving Buddhism explores the dissonance between the goals of the colonial state and the Buddhist worldview that animated Burmese Buddhism at the turn of the twentieth century. For many Burmese, the salient and ordering discourse was not nation or modernity but sāsana, the life of the Buddha’s teachings. Burmese Buddhists interpreted the political and social changes between 1890 and 1920 as signs that the Buddha’s sāsana was deteriorating. This fear of decline drove waves of activity and organizing to prevent the loss of the Buddha’s teachings. Burmese set out to save Buddhism, but achieved much more: they took advantage of the indeterminacy of the moment to challenge the colonial frameworks that were beginning to shape their world. Beginning from an understanding that defining and redefining the boundaries of religion operated as a key technique of colonial power-shaping subjects through European categories and authorizing projects of colonial governmentality-Alicia Turner explores how Burmese Buddhists became actively engaged in defining and inflecting religion to shape their colonial situation and forward their own local projects.
Myanmar is the only Buddhism-majority country in the world that has developed and maintained a system of family law for Buddhists enforced by the courts. This article considers the construction of Burmese Buddhist law by lawyers, judges, and legislators, and the changes made through legislative intervention in 2015. It begins by addressing the creation and contestation of Burmese Buddhist law to demonstrate that it has largely been defined by men and by its perceived opposites, Hinduism and Islam. Three aspects of Burmese Buddhist law that affect women are then examined more closely. First, Burmese Buddhist law carries no penalties for men who commit adultery, although women may risk divorce and the loss of her property. Second, a man can take more than one wife under Burmese Buddhist law; a woman cannot. Third, restrictions on Buddhist women who marry non-Buddhist men operate to ensure the primacy of Burmese Buddhist law over the potential application of Islamic law. This article deconstructs the popular claim that women are better off under Burmese Buddhist law than under Hindu law or Islamic law by showing how Burmese Buddhist law has been preoccupied with regulating the position of women. The 2015 laws build on this history of Burmese Buddhist law, creating new problems, but also potentially operating as a new source of revenge.
What are the practices of the self by which the subject comes to be attached to the nation-state and its law, and how are forms of transgression themselves premised on this form of attachment? Paradoxically, the claims of modern states that they are dedicated to the rule of law and to the building of enduring social peace and toleration are coupled with atrocities committed in the name of the nation-state against populations that threaten existing perceptions of national unity and security. Two of the most powerful thinkers on the biopolitical state, Giorgio Agamben and Michel Foucault, have shown how calculations about life and its management are the defining feature of the modern state.However, the very project of enhancement of life determines, as a corollary, that either certain forms of life are not worth preserving, as Foucault's formula of "letting die" as a form of biopower makes clear, or selective populations are targeted for active destruction, as Agamben's location of the camp as the paradigm of the biopolitical state and its manipulation of "bare life" demonstrates.Modern ideologies of progress, then, are not so much about ending violence as distributing and rearranging forms of suffering so that the violence of religious wars is shifted into another terrain-that of the violence of national and colonial wars (Asad 2003). Feminist philosophers, such as Rada Ivekovic who has studied comparative partitions in India and the former Yugoslavia, argue that it is the ideology of the masculine state that accounts for the gendered violence of the modern state.Whatever adjectives we attach to the idea of the state under modernity-biopolitical, progressive, secular-the route by which violence becomes part of the subject's attachment to the modern state remains a pressing question.My aim here is to examine the foundational stories that make clear why the nation-state comes to have an interest in issues relating to the biological life of the individual and to ask if there are specific questions regarding sexuality and reproduction that might illuminate questions of violence against women. One of the places to begin an examination of these foundational myths is to consider the place of nature in thinking about the creation of the political. The problem, as I see it, is that once the idea of God as the author of nature and time is displaced and the political body is seen as subject to death and decay, secular means have to be crafted to ensure that the sovereign receives life beyond the lifetime of its individual members. Thus the state has to reimagine its relation to the family, particularly to women's sexuality and reproduction, in denser ways than simply assigning it to the realm of the private. Since the state of nature is seen as the point of mythic origin of the state (as in Hobbes), it seems appropriate to begin this analysis with the way in which bodies are imagined in the state of nature. One of the frequently cited quotes in Hobbes refers to the mushroom analogy, in which we are asked to consider men as sprung out of the earth and suddenly "like mushrooms, come to full maturity, without all kind of engagement to each other" (Hobbes [1651] 1991: 205).Many feminist scholars have noted the exclusion of the woman, especially the mother, from this originary imagination of social order. Thus Carol Pateman (1988) notes that the invitation to think of men as springing up like mushrooms is designed to obscure the fact that contractual individualism is grounded in the husband's subjugation of the wife. Similarly, Seyla Benhabib (1992) cites this analogy as evidence that the denial of being born of a woman frees the male ego from the natural bonds of dependence on the mother.While this line of argumentation is powerful in showing how the profoundly masculine Leviathan is formulated on the explicit exclusion of women, there is some scope for thinking about this issue beyond questions of exclusion. One point of entry into these questions is to track the way the so-called natural life enters into the mechanisms and calculations of power-in short, the domain of biopolitics. In his recent writings Agamben (1998) offers us the concept of bare life to suggest a constitutive principle of modernity, namely, that of the coinciding of biological life itself with the life of the citizen. In Agamben's words, "European democracy placed at the center of its battle against absolutism not bios, the qualified life of the citizen but zoe, the bare, anonymous life that is as such taken into the sovereign ban" (124-25). He locates the first rendering of bare life as the new political subject in the 1679 writ of habeas corpus for here he tracks the idea that what has to be produced before the law is literally the body: "It is not the free man with his statutes and the prerogatives, nor even simply homo, but rather corpus-that is the new subject of politics" (125). This bears some affinity to the idea of the individual sprung from the earth, as it were, although its location is shifted from the origin of social contract to that of anonymous life as the subject of the law. I propose a different trajectory and argue that even when the law is demanding a body to be produced before it, this body is already constituted as a sociolegal subject rather than a natural body. In the Indian context this turns out to be based on two interrelated conceptions about the "state of nature" and its relation to the political community. The first assumption is that the individual who comes to be the "subject" whose attachment the state seeks to secure is a sexed individual; the second, that the natural "savage" is in fact a communally constructed subject whose passions as "Hindu,""Muslim," or "Christian" come to the fore when the social order is threatened. Both conceptions bear the mark of colonial history in subject formation that always assumes that but for the constraining hand of colonial governance there would be no politics in India except in the form of a succession of communal riots.
Refiguring Women, Colonialism, and Modernity in Burma presents the first study of one of the most prevalent and critical topics of public discourse in colonial Burma: the woman of the khit kala-"the woman of the times"-who burst onto the covers and pages of novels, newspapers, and advertisements in the 1920s. Educated and politicized, earner and consumer, "Burmese" and "Westernized," she embodied the possibilities and challenges of the modern era, as well as the hopes and fears it evoked. In Refiguring Women, Chie Ikeya interrogates what these shifting and competing images of the feminine reveal about the experience of modernity in colonial Burma. She marshals a wide range of hitherto unexamined Burmese language sources to analyze both the discursive figurations of the woman of the khit kala and the choices and actions of actual women who-whether pursuing higher education, becoming political, or adopting new clothes and hairstyles-unsettled existing norms and contributed to making the woman of the khit kala the privileged idiom for debating colonialism, modernization, and nationalism. The first book-length social history of Burma to utilize gender as a category of sustained analysis, Refiguring Women challenges the reigning nationalist and anticolonial historical narratives of a conceptually and institutionally monolithic colonial modernity that made inevitable the rise of ethnonationalism and xenophobia in Burma. The study demonstrates the irreducible heterogeneity of the colonial encounter and draws attention to the conjoined development of cosmopolitanism and nationalism. Ikeya illuminates the important roles that Burmese men and women played as cultural brokers and agents of modernity. She shows how their complex engagements with social reform, feminism, anticolonialism, media, and consumerism rearticulated the boundaries of belonging and foreignness in religious, racial, and ethnic terms. Refiguring Women adds significantly to examinations of gender and race relations, modernization, and nationalism in colonized regions. It will be of interest to a broad audience-not least those working in the fields of Southeast Asian studies, colonial and postcolonial studies, cultural studies, and women's and gender studies. 26 illus.
To come to Burma, one of the few places where despotism still dominates, is to take both a physical and an emotional journey and, like most Burmese, to become caught up in the daily management of fear. Based on Monique Skidmore's experiences living in the capital city of Rangoon, Karaoke Fascism is the first ethnography of fear in Burma and provides a sobering look at the psychological strategies employed by the Burmese people in order to survive under a military dictatorship that seeks to invade and dominate every aspect of life. Skidmore looks at the psychology and politics of fear under the SLORC and SPDC regimes. Encompassing the period of antijunta student street protests, her work describes a project of authoritarian modernity, where Burmese people are conscripted as army porters and must attend mass rallies, chant slogans, construct roads, and engage in other forms of forced labor. In a harrowing portrayal of life deep within an authoritarian state, recovering heroin addicts, psychiatric patients, girl prostitutes, and poor and vulnerable women in forcibly relocated townships speak about fear, hope, and their ongoing resistance to four decades of oppression. "Karaoke fascism" is a term the author uses to describe the layers of conformity that Burmese people present to each other and, more important, to the military regime. This complex veneer rests on resistance, collaboration, and complicity, and describes not only the Burmese form of oppression but also the Burmese response to a life of domination. Providing an inside look at the madness and the militarization of the city, Skidmore argues that the weight of fear, the anxiety of constant vulnerability, and the numbing demands of the State upon individuals force Burmese people to cast themselves as automata; they deliberately present lifeless hollow bodies for the State's use, while their minds reach out into the cosmos for an array of alternate realities. Skidmore raises ethical and methodological questions about conducting research on fear when doing so evokes the very emotion in question, in both researcher and informant. Copyright
This paper aims to contribute to our understanding of the implications of ‘being-on-the-move’ for language use and the organization of social actions in the context of driving a car. The paper analyses the social and sequential organization of multimodal, embodied and technologically mediated human action. More specifically, we look at how interlocutors negotiate routes as a social accomplishment. When several participants are present inside the car, both the route and often also the end point of the journey can become subject to negotiation between the driver and the passenger(s). As previous research has shown, participants to an interactional situation rely on various semiotic (linguistic, material, and embodied) resources to organize their interaction. One important aim of this paper is to consider how—in addition to above resources—movement in time and space, and the changing contextual configuration caused by movement, both drives action and is used as a resource in action production. The data come from recordings of social interaction inside cars.
This paper charts the discursive shift between colonial and ‘post’ colonial discourses about gender and ethnicity in Burma, and attempts to counter such representations by offering alternative stories to those colonialist rumours which have established their status as ‘truth’. The first part deals with missionary discourses in colonial Burma; the second with ‘post’ colonial discourses on Burmese women; and the final section offers stories told by women involved in the political struggles of contemporary Burma. The aim of the paper is to attempt to de-territorialize Burma as a site of colonialist knowledge.
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