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New article on social infrastructure in Myanmar

Sule Pagoda Road in downtown Yangon, with a view towards Sule Pagoda
Photo by Elizabeth Rhoads

Elizabeth Rhoads has co-authored a new article with Jayde Lin Roberts on Myanmar’s social infrastructure of nalehmu.

This new article examines nalehmu, a set of informal relational practices for negotiating power across scales which have facilitated access and enforced accountability through mutually recognized norms and social sanctions in Myanmar. Nalehmu is Myanmar’s discreet and prolonged practice of agency that has enabled ordinary people to survive and better their lives despite the multiple ruptures in Myanmar’s history, as seen most recently in the February 2021 coup d’état. The paper analyzes how nalehmu serves as a hidden-in-plain-sight social infrastructure across three different scales: relations of mutuality, obligation, and reciprocity between individuals; implicit connections for accessing goods, services, and recognition; and a means of interacting with the state via the nalehmu economy.

Read the full article on Taylor & Francis Online