Belonging in a New Myanmar: Identity, law, and gender in the anthropology of contemporary Buddhism

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7 Scopus citations


"To be Burmese is to be Buddhist" is a slogan commonly identified with the dawn of nationalism in the country known today as Myanmar, where violence between Buddhist, Muslim, and ethnic communities has increasingly jeopardized liberalizing reforms. How do contemporary forms of Theravada Buddhist discourse shape ideas of belonging in a multi-religious and ethnically diverse Myanmar following the dissolution of military rule in 2011? How do digital technologies and globalizing communication networks in this nation influence rapidly changing social identities, anxieties, and imaginaries that Brigit Meyer identifies as 'aesthetic formations'? In this article, I trace diverse genealogies of belonging to show how contemporary constructions of meaning facilitate religious imaginaries that may exacerbate difference by drawing on past ideologies of conflict or may seek to envision a new and diverse Myanmar.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-172
Number of pages15
JournalReligion and Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017


  • Anti-muslim hate speech
  • Belonging
  • Gender
  • Global communications networks
  • Laws
  • Myanmar
  • Secularism
  • Theravada Buddhism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies


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