The Politics of Population

There is a growing number of internal migration and shifts in the composition of demography in many states and regions. The Tatmadaw’s Commander-in-Chief frequently emphasizes that most ethnic states in Myanmar are facing major shifts in the ethnic composition of their population, as once-dominant majority ethnic groups in most states are losing their majority status. Several ethnic minority groups have recently raised their concerns about migration into their regions. The growing tension between the stickiness of ethnic identity that is qualitatively constructed in histories within a particular ethnic geography and the rapid decline in the majority ethnic population in some states (often considered by the ethnic majority population as their “homeland”) poses a major challenge to Myanmar’s inter-ethnic harmony. In fact, the country has started experiencing inter-communal hate speech and even violence. Examples include friction between Palaung and Shan communities in Shan State as well as between Kachin and the Red Shan (Tai Lai) in Kachin State. The proposed research investigates this phenomenon and its implications for local communities as well as for the “Myanmar nation”.