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Title: Labour formalisation as selective hegemony in reform-era Myanmar
Authors: Campbell, Stephen
Keywords: Social sciences::General::Careers and profession
Issue Date: 2018
Source: Campbell, S. (2018). Labour Formalisation as Selective Hegemony in Reform-era Myanmar. The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 20(1), 57–73. doi:10.1080/14442213.2018.1530294
Journal: The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology 
Abstract: With the general elections of November 2010, state rule in Myanmar entered a process widely seen as a transition—if stalled—to democracy and rule of law. Such transition narratives have posited normative rule of law and arbitrary rule outside law as opposing logics, and opposing practices. A similar dichotomy is found in studies of labour informalisation in the global South, where informal labour is understood as antithetical to legally protected employment. Arguing otherwise, this article employs interview and ethnographic data to pursue an anthropology of state formation as a means of reading formality and informality as complementary, rather than conflicting, logics of state practice. Drawing on Gavin Smith's notion of selective hegemony, I hold that state actors in Myanmar have pursued varied projects of rule over a heterogeneous landscape of labour relations. In this respect, rule of law is always selective, and informality exhibits not so much an absence of state rule as an indirect modality of rule.
ISSN: 1444-2213
DOI: 10.1080/14442213.2018.1530294
Schools: School of Social Sciences 
Rights: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology on 05 Oct 2018, available online:
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:SSS Journal Articles

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