Winning by Process:
The State and the Neutralization of Ethnic Minorities in Myanmar

Jacques Bertrand, Alexandre Pelletier and Ardeth Maung Thawnghmung

Cornell University Press, 2022

The decade from 2011-2021, a time of peace negotiations and democratic experimentation in Myanmar, was also a decade of missed opportunities. In Winning by Process, Bertrand,  Pelletier, and Thawnghmung ask why the peace process stalled despite a liberalizing regime, a national ceasefire agreement, and multilateral peace dialogue between the state and ethnic minorities. The Myanmar case shows how process can shift the balance of power in negotiations intended to bring an end to civil war. During the last decade, the Myanmar state and military controlled the process, neutralized ethnic minority groups, and continued to impose their vision of a centralized state while seemingly negotiating federalism.

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Democracy and Nationalism in Southeast Asia

Jacques Bertrand

Cambridge University Press, 2021

This book offers a comparative-historical analysis of five nationalist conflicts over several decades in Southeast Asia. Using a theoretical framework to explain variance over time and across cases, he challenges and refines existing debates on democracy's impact and shows that, while democratization significantly reduces violent insurgency over time, it often introduces pernicious effects that fail to resolve conflict and contribute to maintaining deep nationalist grievances. Drawing on years of detailed fieldwork, Bertrand analyses the paths that led from secessionist mobilization to a range of outcomes.

Competitive Intervention, Protracted Conflict, and the Global Prevalence of Civil War

Noel Anderson

International Studies Quarterly, 2019

Noel Anderson's article develops a theory of competitive intervention in civil war to explain variation in the global prevalence of intrastate conflict. It describes the distortionary effects competitive interventions have on domestic bargaining processes and explain the unique strategic dilemmas they entail for third-party interveners. The theory uncovers the conditional nature of intervention under the shadow of inadvertent escalation and moves beyond popular anecdotes about “proxy wars” by deriving theoretically grounded propositions about the strategic logics motivating intervener behaviors. It then links temporal variation in patterns of competitive intervention to recent decreases in the prevalence and average duration of internal conflicts.

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Identity formation, Christian networks, and the peripheries of Kachin ethnonational identity

Alexandre Pelletier

Asian Politics & Policy, 2021

Alexandre Pelletier's article asks: Why do regional identities develop (or not)? While we know about the institutional incentives that make some identities more salient than others, we know much less about the conditions that make nation‐builders more or less successful. To fill this gap, Pelletier examines the organizational dimensions of identity formation and the peripheries of Kachin nationalism in Myanmar. It argues that identity formation is shaped by political entrepreneurs’ capacity to (1) create inclusive inter‐elite alliances and (2) turn individuals into “citizens” of a larger ensemble. Empirically, it seeks to understand why we find resistance to a pan‐Kachin identity among two “Kachin” subgroups: Rawang and Lisu.