Securing meaningful life: Women's work and land rights in rural Myanmar

TitleSecuring meaningful life: Women's work and land rights in rural Myanmar
Annotated RecordNot Annotated
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsFaxon HOliva
Secondary TitleJournal of Rural Studies
Key themesDispossession-grabbing, Formalisation-titling, Gender, MarginalisedPeople, MigrationLabour, Policy-law

ABSTRACTED FROM INTRODUCTION: This article interrogates the gendered relationship between making meaningful life and securing land rights in Myanmar, a nation in the midst of rapid agrarian transformation. From hilly agroforestry systems to the dry central plains, Myanmar's diverse agrarian landscapes form the basis of life and livelihoods for the majority of the country's over 160 ethnic groups. Debates over proposed land reforms, which range from dramatic restitution and redistribution initiatives to seemingly- banal registration procedures, have marked the early years of Myanmar's post-authoritarian period. In the context of historic and ongoing land grabbing by the military and economic elite (Buchanan et al., 2013; Ferguson, 2014; Woods, 2011) and decades of restrictive colonial and socialist land and agrarian policies (Mark, 2016; Thawnghmung, 2004), the government has enacted laws, formed committees to investigate land grabs, and reorganized rural adminis- tration. While all resources remain property of the state under the 2008 Constitution, the 2012 Farmland Law and the 2012 Vacant, Fallow and Virgin Land Law introduced new procedures for land registration and expanded usufruct rights, while the 2016 National Land Use Policy set out an aspirational framework for future reforms (see Scurrah et al., 2015 for discussion of Myanmar's land governance). The implementa- tion and effects of these policies vary but, on paper, they share a common goal of clarifying land rights.


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Journal Article