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Elisabeth Olivius

Peace in the Shadow of War? Tracing Varieties of Peace in Myanmar

This project traces the local varieties of peace that have emerged after the ceasefires in Myanmar in the 1990s, and continue to emerge during ongoing peace attempts. Myanmar is a case where armed conflict has been ongoing throughout the period that we study in the Varieties of Peace program, despite repeated peace attempts and agreements. Nonetheless, ceasefire agreements have managed to halt fighting in parts of the country for longer or shorter periods. In many ceasefire areas and periods, a negative peace have been established that has vastly improved the lives of ordinary people. At the same time, conflict issues around ethnic discrimination and inequality has not been resolved, economic inequality, poverty, lack of social services and vulnerability to land mines as well as abuses by armed groups have continued.


The peace that emerged can in many cases be described as an armed, unequal, unresolved peace that has enabled predatory “ceasefire capitalism”. At the same time however, ceasefires have enabled local forms of everyday peace, local agency and local politics that were previously not feasible. How can this multifaceted, ambiguous situation be characterized? Thus, in this project Myanmar is approached as a fruitful case for exploring how peace can coexist with war, and conceptualizing the forms of peace(s) that can emerge in such situations.

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