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  • 1.
    Blomqvist, Linnéa
    et al.
    Department of Political Science, Umeå University, Umeå, (SWE).
    Olivius, Elisabeth
    Department of Political Science, Umeå University, Umeå, (SWE).
    Hedström, Jenny
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy.
    Care and silence in women’s everyday peacebuilding in Myanmar2021In: Conflict, Security and Development, ISSN 1467-8802, E-ISSN 1478-1174, Vol. 21, no 3, p. 223-244Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article draws on feminist perspectives on the everyday to explore women’s everyday experiences of peace in Kayah state in Myanmar. We locate the daily practices women engage in to maintain life and minimise violence, making visible women’s contributions to everyday peace. In addition, we examine the ways in which women are disproportionally affected by war and prevented from benefitting from post-war changes. Our findings demonstrate that practices of care and silence are key avenues for women’s everyday peacebuilding, through which women sustain peace, ensure survival, and minimise violence in their families and wider communities. At the same time, however, these practices are conditioned by and may contribute to gendered insecurity and marginalisation for women. Through this focus, our analysis shows how women’s positioning in gendered relations of power may both enable their agency in peacebuilding and reinforce their gendered inequality and marginalisation in the post-war period. We conclude that while everyday peace practices may hold the potential for positive change, these can also contribute to the reproduction of inequality, oppression and structural violence.

  • 2.
    Chilmeran, Yasmin
    et al.
    Swedish Institute of International Affairs, (SWE).
    Hedström, Jenny
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy.
    Reflexivity and Fieldwork in Feminist Peace Research2021In: The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Peace and Conflict Studies / [ed] Richmond O., Visoka G., Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 3.
    Hedström, Jenny
    Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.
    Confusion, Seduction, Failure: Emotions as Reflexive Knowledge in Conflict Settings2019In: International Studies Review, ISSN 1521-9488, E-ISSN 1468-2486, Vol. 21, no 4, p. 662-677Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article highlights the influence of emotions, affective experiences, and rumors on the construction of knowledge within research on conflict and in international politics, as well as within the research process itself. Drawing from fieldwork undertaken in a conflict zone in Myanmar, it suggests that academic knowledge production practices are informed both by the (violent) context in which research is undertaken and by the demands of the discipline to produce a scientifically accepted piece of research. It proposes that attention to emotions may facilitate strong objectivity (Harding 1992) by foregrounding the relationship between research participants, researchers, and the broader research (institutional and immediate) contexts. It introduces the term “rumors-as-affect” as a means to discuss how affective atmospheres or events in the research environments inform research. Three interview situations are presented, in which different emotional reactions are highlighted, focusing on “confusion and guilt”; “seduction”; and finally, “failure and ignorance.” These events illustrate how, in recognizing the role emotions and affective atmospheres play in research on conflict and in international politics (cf. Crawford 2014; Hutchison and Bleiker 2014; Ross 2013), researchers may begin to do justice to our representations of what is encountered in the field and how knowledge is constructed within the discipline.

  • 4.
    Hedström, Jenny
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy.
    Everyday Justice in Myanmar: Informal Resolutions and State Evasion in a Time of Contested Transition. Edited by Helene Maria Kyed. Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2020. 367 pp.2021In: Sojourn, ISSN 0217-9520, Vol. 36, no 2, p. 358-361Article, book review (Other academic)
  • 5.
    Hedström, Jenny
    Monash Gender, Peace and Security Center, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.
    Fear and fieldwork in Myanmar2017In: International feminist journal of politics, ISSN 1461-6742, E-ISSN 1468-4470, Vol. 19, no 3, p. 386-387Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 6.
    Hedström, Jenny
    Faculty of Arts, Monash University, Clayton VIC, Australia.
    Militarization in five vignettes2019In: Critical Military Studies, ISSN 2333-7486, E-ISSN 2333-7494, Vol. 5, no 2, p. 189-190Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 7.
    Hedström, Jenny
    Monash Gender, Peace and Security Center, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.
    Myanmar2015In: Women in conflict and peace / [ed] Jenny Hedström; Thiyumi Senarathna, Stockholm: International IDEA , 2015, 1, p. 61-87Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Based on primary interviews conducted with women involved in the Kachin armed resistance movement and in Kachin women’s peace networks, this article explores the many roles women play in the armed conflict in Myanmar, highlighting how identities shaped by ethnicity, religion, gender and class influence participation in the armed struggle and inform women’s actions. This article1 will show how, in Kachin state, the reasons why women from religious- and ethnic-minority groups enlist in ethno-political organizations include experiences of oppression, a dearth of social services, poverty, gender-based violence and nationalism. In other words, these women’s participation in the armed struggle is motivated largely by political and ideological purposes closely related to their identities as members of ethnic and religious minorities. Interestingly, this also seems to inform the motivations of women who join the peace movement, and who advocate the inclusion of women in public deliberations on the conflict and for an end to the war. This means that women have expectations for what peace and security means to them, and as political agents, are able to act on their motivations if needed. This research will bring to the forefront the narratives of religious- and ethnic-minority women in Myanmar, who are typically sidelined from public discussions and state-building exercises in post-conflict settings. In doing so, it will highlight their expectations for political action and settlements, enhancing and broadening analyses of the conflict in Myanmar.

  • 8.
    Hedström, Jenny
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy. School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden.
    On violence, the everyday, and social reproduction: Agnes and Myanmar’s transition2021In: Peacebuilding, ISSN 2164-7259, E-ISSN 2164-7267, Vol. 9, no 4, p. 371-386Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article brings into conversation feminist political economy with critical studies in peace and conflict to examine how Myanmar’s transition is experienced though everyday gendered sites and with what consequences for women living in rural areas of the country, where lives are shaped as much by the actuality as the possibility of violence. The everyday is where these insecurities are felt, feared and negotiated. To illustrate this, I draw on the experiences of Agnes, a woman growing up within the context of prolonged conflict in rural Myanmar. I demonstrate how Agnes’s home, and her bodily labour and vulnerability, is at the locus of a gendered political economy (re)produced both within the home and at the national level. I show how the transition has for women like Agnes resulted in a continuation of insecurity, challenging the legitimacy of Myanmar’s neoliberal reform initiatives as a meaningful pathway towards sustainable peace and security. 

  • 9.
    Hedström, Jenny
    International IDEA.
    Solidarity in Exile?: The influence of gender politics in the pro-democracy struggle in Myanmar2013In: Journeys from exclusion to inclusion: marginalized women's successes in overcoming political exclusion, Stockholm: International IDEA , 2013, p. 234-265Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This case study describes the negotiations and processes undertaken by the women who had the foresight and the courage to establish Myanmar's first multi-ethnic women's movement. In particular, it details the steps and processes undertaken by the founders of the Burmese Women's Union (BWU), resulting in the establishment of an umbrella group, the Women's League of Burma (WLB), under which the women's movement has since been structured.

    By 1988, dissatisfaction with the military regime had reached a tipping point in the general population, culminating in nationwide demonstrations that were brutally put down by the junta. Following the military crackdown on internal opposition, thousands of Burmese fled to the borders of Myanmar. There, the opposition re-emerged and reformed , primarily on the borders with Thailand. An increasing number of women began to put forward claims for political recognition.

    The BWU was the first multi-ethnic women's organization to appear on the border. The organization has attempted to promote a collective Burmese identity based on gender rather than on a minority ethnic nationalism. Significantly, the BWU's staff and members include not only women from different minority ethnic groups, but also women who are Burman (Myanmar's majority group) and therefore share the same ethnicity of the military regime.

    Tensions between Burman and minority groups are high as the military regime promotes a policy of ‘Burmanization’, entailing the oppression of ethnic minority groups and the forced use of the Burmese language, customs and religion. Some even accuse the regime of advocating ethnic cleansing. Despite this, the BWU has, through the consultations and negotiations leading up to the first multi-ethnic women’s movement in contemporary Myanmar’s history, managed to foster a sense of solidarity between women from both Burman and ethnic minority backgrounds, culminating in the establishment of the WLB.

  • 10.
    Hedström, Jenny
    Monash Gender, Peace and Security Center, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.
    The political economy of the Kachin revolutionary household2016In: The Pacific Review, ISSN 0951-2748, E-ISSN 1470-1332, Vol. 30, no 4, p. 581-595Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Applying a feminist political economy analysis of the Kachin military movement, this article will be mapping women's involvement in the armed uprising since the outbreak of the conflict in 1961, demonstrating the centrality of gender relations for the war. Using primary data, this article will show how the household provides essential support to the Kachin war effort in the shape of emotional, physical and material labour, thus underscoring the critical role played by women in maintaining the conflict. Examining the relationship between narratives of gendered insecurity in the community and notions of militarized duty, this article will argue that the Kachin armed forces have employed gendered notions of security and duty to legitimize and sustain the conflict. The importance of normative gender relations for providing labour and emotional and material support for the conflict will then be examined, showing how the household is situated as the nucleus of the armed revolution. The findings in this article thus reveal a need to take into account the relationship between the household and the armed conflict, arguing that the household is a site inseparably linked to nationalistic objectives, underpinning the economic and ideological structures of military movements. Interventions aiming at resolving the conflict in Kachin must therefore consider the importance of gender relations in upholding the political-economy infrastructure of the military movement.

  • 11.
    Hedström, Jenny
    International IDEA, Strömsborg, Stockholm, Sweden.
    We Did Not Realize about the Gender Issues. So, We Thought It Was a Good Idea: Gender roles in Burmese oppositional struggles2016In: International feminist journal of politics, ISSN 1461-6742, E-ISSN 1468-4470, Vol. 18, no 1, p. 61-79Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article explores the link between nationalism, as expressed by the Burman state and ethnic and student opposition movements, and the emergence of a multiethnic women's movement engaged in resistance activities. In focusing on women's involvement in oppositional nation-making projects, this article aims to broaden our understanding of gender and conflict by highlighting women's agency in war. Drawing on interviews carried out with founding members of the women's movement, non-state armed groups and others active in civil society, the article investigates how a gendered political consciousness arose out of dissatisfaction with women's secondary position in armed opposition groups, leading to women forming a movement, not in opposition to conflict per se but in opposition to the rejection of their militarism, in the process redefining notions of political involvement and agency. By invoking solidarity based on a gendered positioning, rather than on an ethnic identity, the women's movement resisted the dominant nation-making projects, and created a nationalism inclusive of multiethnic differences. Burmese women's multiple wartime roles thus serve to upset supposed dichotomies between militancy and peace and victim and combatant, in the process redefining the relationship between gender, nationalism and militancy.

  • 12.
    Hedström, Jenny
    et al.
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy.
    Elisabeth, Olivius
    Umeå Universitet, (SWE).
    The politics of sexual violence in the Kachin conflict in Myanmar2021In: International feminist journal of politics, ISSN 1461-6742, E-ISSN 1468-4470, Vol. 23, no 3, p. 374-395Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Conflict-related sexual violence has been the focus of significant international activism and policy attention. International legal norms and frameworks have evolved to recognize it as a war crime, and a representation of sexual violence as a “weapon of war” is now widely endorsed. This article examines how international norms about conflict-related sexual violence are adopted and utilized in multiple ways in the armed conflict in Kachin state in northern Myanmar. Throughout decades of civil war, international norms on sexual violence have constituted key resources for international advocacy and awareness raising by local women’s rights activists. Further, activists have drawn on international norms to effect changes in gendered relations of power within their own communities. However, international norms on sexual violence in conflict have also been effectively used as tools for ethno-nationalist identity politics, rallying support behind the armed insurgency and mobilizing women’s unpaid labor in the service of war. Thus, international norms on conflict-related sexual violence have simultaneously opened up space for women’s empowerment and political agency and reproduced gendered forms of insecurity and marginalization. Exploring these contradictions and complexities, this analysis generates novel insights into the politics of international norms in contexts of armed conflict.

  • 13.
    Hedström, Jenny
    et al.
    Swedish Defence University, Department of War Studies and Military History, Functions and Perspective Division.
    Faxon, Hilary Oliva
    University of Montana W A Franke College of Forestry and Conservation, Missoula, MT, (USA).
    Mar phyo, Zin
    (MMR).
    Pan, Htoi
    (MMR).
    Kha Yae, Moe
    (MMR).
    Yay, Ka
    (MMR).
    Mi, Mi
    (MMR).
    Forced Fallow Fields: Making Meaningful Life in the Myanmar Spring RevolutionIn: Civil Wars, ISSN 1369-8249, E-ISSN 1743-968XArticle in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Women’s everyday work is critical to revolutionary projects yet is often written out of war stories. This article draws on a participatory photography project with rural women in Myanmar to show how, in the face of extensive violence, women’s productive and social reproductive labour sustains both individual households and revolutionary projects writ-large. We highlight the everyday acts of love and labour that generate affective and productive ties to rural landscapes, enabling people to endure violence and imagine a better future. Our work shows how making meaningful life has become both more difficult and more urgent during the Myanmar Spring Revolution.

  • 14.
    Hedström, Jenny
    et al.
    Swedish Defence University, Department of War Studies and Military History, Functions and Perspective Division.
    Herder, Tobias
    Division of Social Medicine and Global Health, Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University, Malmö, (SWE).
    Women’s sexual and reproductive health in war and conflict: are we seeing the full picture?2023In: Global Health Action, ISSN 1654-9716, E-ISSN 1654-9880, Vol. 16, no 1Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    It is well established that women’s sexual and reproductive health (SRHR) is negatively affected by war. While global health research often emphasises infrastructure and systematic factors as key impediments to women’s SRHR in war and postwar contexts, reports from different armed conflicts indicate that women’s reproduction may be controlled both by state and other armed actors, limiting women’s choices and access to maternal and reproductive health care even when these are available. In addition, it is important to examine and trace disparities in sexual reproductive health access and uptake within different types of wars, recognising gendered differences in war and postwar contexts. Adding feminist perspectives on war to global health research explanations of how war affects women's sexual and reproductive health might then contribute to further understanding the complexity of the different gendered effects war and armed conflicts have on women’s sexual and reproductive health.

  • 15.
    Hedström, Jenny
    et al.
    Umeå universitet, Statsvetenskapliga institutionen.
    Olivius, Elisabeth
    Umeå universitet, Statsvetenskapliga institutionen.
    Insecurity, Dispossession, Depletion : Women’s Experiences of Post-War Development in Myanmar2020In: European Journal of Development Research, ISSN 0957-8811, E-ISSN 1743-9728, Vol. 32, no 2, p. 379-403Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article explores the gendered dynamics of Myanmar’s post-war economic reforms through an analysis of women’s experiences of development in Kayah (Karenni) state. In Myanmar, ceasefires and a reduction of armed violence combined with state-driven economic liberalization reforms are conditioned by, but also contribute to remake, gendered relations of power, privilege and marginalization. While new land legislation and development projects have contributed to loss of land and livelihoods among rural populations in general, our study demonstrates that women living in conflict-affected border areas are disproportionally affected. Drawing on interviews and participant observation, we show how this is directly related to an overarching gendered political economy defined by legacies of conflict, discrimination and uneven processes of development, which positions women as particularly vulnerable to new forms of insecurity, dispossession and depletion generated by post-war economic transformations. We argue that the political and economic legacies of war in the state has produced a gendered division of labor that positions women as responsible for unpaid and underpaid informal and social reproductive labor, weakens women’s access to land, and results in physical, material, and emotional depletion. Through this focus, our study adds to research on development and economic restructuring in post-war contexts in general, and to emergent scholarship on Myanmar’s economic reforms in particular.

  • 16.
    Hedström, Jenny
    et al.
    Swedish Defence University, Department of War Studies and Military History, Functions and Perspective Division.
    Olivius, Elisabeth
    Umeå University, (SWE).
    Introduction: Political Transitions and Gendered Transformations in Myanmar2022In: Waves of Upheaval in Myanmar: Gendered Transformations and Political Transitions / [ed] Jenny Hedström, Elisabeth Olivius, Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2022Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 17.
    Hedström, Jenny
    et al.
    Swedish Defence University, Department of War Studies and Military History, Functions and Perspective Division.
    Olivius, Elisabeth
    Department of Political Science, Umeå University, (SWE).
    Tracing temporal conflicts in transitional Myanmar: life history diagrams as methodological tool2022In: Conflict, Security and Development, ISSN 1467-8802, E-ISSN 1478-1174, Vol. 22, no 5, p. 495-515Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article adds to the emerging ‘temporal turn’ in peace studies by addressing methodological questions about how temporality can be captured and explored in empirical studies. Developing our methodological tools for exploring time and temporality, we argue, is critical to move beyond the supposed linear temporality of peace processes, and make visible alternative temporal frameworks that shape everyday experiences and contestations around peace in conflict-affected contexts. Drawing on a study of two conflict-affected areas in Myanmar, we contribute towards this aim through a discussion of how life history diagrams helped us trace temporal conflicts between overarching narratives of political transition and everyday experiences of insecurity. This facilitated a deeper understanding of how relationships between war and peace, and between past, present and future, were manifested and made sense of in people’s everyday lives. Our use of life history diagrams revealed temporal conflicts between the dominant, linear temporality of the Myanmar transition, and more complex and cyclical temporal frameworks people used to describe their realities. Life history diagrams also facilitated narratives that troubled an events-based temporality focused on macro-political shifts such as ceasefire agreements and elections, and instead foregrounded everyday experiences of continuous insecurity and struggle.

  • 18.
    Hedström, Jenny
    et al.
    Swedish Defence University, Department of War Studies and Military History, Functions and Perspective Division.
    Olivius, ElisabethUmeå University, (SWE).
    Waves of Upheaval in Myanmar: Gendered Transformations and Political Transitions2022Collection (editor) (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This is the first comprehensive account of the multifaceted processes of gendered transformation that took place in Myanmar between 2011 and 2021, and which continues to shape events today. The period began with the end of direct military rule and the transition to a hybrid, semi-democratic regime, precipitating far-reaching political, economic and social changes across Myanmar. To date, the gendered dynamics and effects of this transition have not yet received sustained scholarly attention. Remedying this gap, this book provides a much-needed historical corrective through a careful, nuanced analysis of the gendered dynamics of transitional politics, institutions and policymaking; feminist resistance, mobilization, and movement building; and their effects on labor, land, and everyday lives. Although the February 2021 military coup brought an end to this decade of experimentation and transition, in the richness of its analysis and detail, the book offers a deeper understanding of the current political situation in Myanmar. The gendered changes that the transition brought about have shaped both the current configuration of masculinized, military dictatorship, as well as the unprecedented role played by women in resistance to military rule after the 2021 coup. This analysis of the gendered dynamics and effects of the recent decade of political transition in Myanmar is therefore critical for understanding current events, as well as the ways in which Myanmar’s political landscape might continue to be reshaped.

  • 19.
    Hedström, Jenny
    et al.
    Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Statsvetenskapliga institutionen.
    Olivius, Elisabeth
    Umeå universitet, Statsvetenskapliga institutionen.
    Kay Soe, Valentina
    Women's Rights: Change and Continuity2021In: Myanmar: Politics, Economy and Society / [ed] Simpson, Adam & Farelly, Nicholas, London & New York: Routledge , 2021, p. 186-203Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This chapter examines how the status of women has evolved against a background of absolute exclusion during military rule to a semi-civilian government with a female de-facto head of state. Despite this shift, gender inequality persists across the country at all levels. Why is this, and how are women organising themselves to confront the inequalities that they face? This chapter provides an analysis of change and continuity in terms of both opportunities and challenges for realising gender equality in Myanmar. Taking the situation of women during military rule as a starting point the analysis moves on to explore women’s experiences of the transition and their attempts at leveraging political openings for gender equality under the current government, before concluding with a discussion of future challenges and opportunities for women’s equality in Myanmar. Honing in on women’s political activism, past and present, this chapter allows close examination of what has changed and what has remained the same for women in Myanmar.

  • 20.
    Hedström, Jenny
    et al.
    Swedish Defence University, Department of War Studies and Military History, Functions and Perspective Division.
    Olivius, Elisabeth
    Umeå University, (SWE).
    Phyo, Zin Mar
    Troubling the Transition: Gendered Insecurity in the Borderlands2022In: Waves of Upheaval in Myanmar: Gendered Transformations and Political Transitions / [ed] Jenny Hedström, Elisabeth Olivius, Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2022Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 21.
    Hedström, Jenny
    et al.
    Swedish Defence University, Department of War Studies and Military History, Functions and Perspective Division.
    Olivius, Elisabeth
    Department of Political Science, Umeå University, Umeå, (SWE).
    Soe, Kay
    (MMR).
    Women in Myanmar: Change and Continuity2023In: Myanmar: Politics, Economy and Society / [ed] Adam Simpson; Nicholas Farrelly, London: Routledge, 2023, 2, p. 220-236Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Gender inequalities have persisted across macro-political changes in Myanmar. The decade of reforms provided more opportunities for women, but the 2021 military coup reinstated an almost exclusively male-dominated decision-making structure in the country. While Myanmar is home to numerous ethnic groups with diverse cultures, norms and traditions, the work of women activists and scholars has revealed widespread patterns of discrimination against women. Notably, this reality contrasts sharply with a popular official rhetoric about Burmese women’s ‘inherent equality’ with men – a narrative that has arguably done more to bolster the legitimacy of Myanmar’s governments than to improve women’s lives. This chapter provides an analysis of change and continuity in terms of both opportunities and challenges for realising women’s equality in Myanmar. Taking the situation of women during military rule before 2011 as a starting point, the analysis next moves on to exploring women’s experiences of the transition and their attempts at leveraging political openings for gender equality under the NLD government. We then explore the effects of the 2021 military coup on women, before concluding with a discussion of future challenges and opportunities for women’s rights in Myanmar.

  • 22.
    Hedström, Jenny
    et al.
    Örebro universitet, Institutionen för humaniora, utbildnings- och samhällsvetenskap.
    Phyo, Zin Mar
    Burmese Women’s Union, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
    Friendship, intimacy, and power in research on conflict: implications for feminist ethics2020In: International feminist journal of politics, ISSN 1461-6742, E-ISSN 1468-4470, Vol. 22, no 5, p. 765-777Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 23.
    Olivius, E
    et al.
    Department of Political Science, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
    Hedström, Jenny
    Department of Political Science, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
    Militarized nationalism as a platform for feminist mobilization?: The case of the Burmese women's movement2019In: Women's Studies: International Forum, ISSN 0277-5395, E-ISSN 1879-243X, Vol. 76, article id 102263Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Feminist scholars have convincingly demonstrated how militarism and nationalism rely on the (re)production of gendered hierarchies. As a result, feminism is often assumed to be at odds with these political projects. In this article, we demonstrate that this is not always and not necessarily the case: in contrast, militarized nationalism may even constitute fertile ground for the mobilization of feminist organization and activism. We make this argument drawing on an in-depth case study of the emergence and evolution of an exiled Burmese women's movement from within armed ethno-nationalist struggles in the borderlands of Myanmar. Drawing on interviews with women activists, we examine when and how militarized nationalism can provide a space from which feminist agendas can be articulated and successfully pursued. This case demonstrates that militarized nationalism does not only have the potential to mobilize women's participation, but can provide a platform for feminist organization and activism that transcends, challenges, and eventually reshapes militarized nationalist projects in ways that advance women's rights and equality. These findings call into question generalized assumptions about the conflictual relationship between feminism, militarism and nationalism, and contributes to advance feminist debates about women's mobilization in contexts of armed conflicts and nationalist struggles.

  • 24.
    Olivius, Elisabeth
    et al.
    Department of Political Science, Umeå University, Umeå, (SWE).
    Hedström, Jenny
    Swedish Defence University, Department of War Studies and Military History, Functions and Perspective Division.
    "On the Border, I Learned How to Advocate": Borderlands as Political Spaces for Burmese Women’s Activism2023In: Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies, ISSN 1556-2948, E-ISSN 1556-2956Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article explores the political space of the border through the experiences of women activists from Myanmar, for whom the borderlands in Thailand have provided refuge as well as a conducive environment for political mobilization. At the same time, the border renders refugee activists insecure and precarious. Drawing on life history interviews, our analysis expands conceptualizations of the border as a dynamic political space by illustrating its dual capacity to both facilitate and constrain the political agency of refugee women from Myanmar. In particular, the spatial and temporal fluidity and in-betweenness of the border is shown to foster both repression and resistance. Exploring the character and salience of the border as a space for activism over time, we demonstrate how the political space of the border is relational, constituted in interaction with other political spaces, such as politics and governance in Myanmar, transnational activist networks, and the politics of international aid

  • 25.
    Olivius, Elisabeth
    et al.
    Umeå University, (SWE).
    Hedström, Jenny
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy.
    Spatial Struggles and the Politics of Peace: The Aung San Statue as a Site for Post-War Conflict in Myanmar’s Kayah State2021In: Journal of Peacebuilding and Development, ISSN 1542-3166, E-ISSN 2165-7440, Vol. 16, no 3, p. 275-288Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article explores processes of place-making and space-making around the erection of the Aung San statue in Kayah state in Myanmar and draws out the competing visions of peace that are articulated through them. The raising of the statue unleashed widespread public protest, which was largely met by repression by the Myanmar authorities. Drawing on interviews, focus groups, and documentary sources, we argue that the statue constitutes an attempt to establish a post-war political order centred on the reassertion of government authority in ethnic minority areas and the creation of unity through the imposition of one national identity. However, the statue has also been appropriated as a key site for the articulation of alternative visions of peace and development. The conflict around the statue thereby makes visible ongoing struggles over the meaning of peace and shows how these post-war struggles are fought on and through space and place.

  • 26.
    Olivius, Elisabeth
    et al.
    Department of Political Science, Umeå University, Umeå, (SWE).
    Hedström, Jenny
    Swedish Defence University, Department of War Studies and Military History, Functions and Perspective Division.
    “They treat us like visitors in our own house”: Relational peace and local experiences of the state in Myanmar2023In: Relational peace practices / [ed] Anna Jarstad; Johanna Söderström; Malin Åkebo, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2023, p. 127-149Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Between 2011 and 2021, political reforms and renewed peace efforts significantly reduced violence in many of Myanmar’s conflict-affected regions. Despite this, people living in these areas did not agree that they enjoyed peace; rather, this period is described as a continuation of the war’s many injustices, marked by discrimination, marginalization, and fear. This chapter argues that a relational analysis of peace can enable us to make sense of this gap between drastically different assessments of peace and conflict. The analysis draws on focus group discussions, interviews, and participant observation with local civilians, civil society activists, and members of non-state armed groups conducted in 2019 in two regions, Kayah and Mon States. A relational perspective uncovers the fact that the fundamental logics of key conflict relationships, between the Myanmar state and ethnic minority groups and communities, have not been transformed by the peace process but instead manifest themselves in new ways, whereby armed violence has been replaced by other forms of domination, underpinned by inequality, non-recognition, and distrust. Exploring these relational dynamics enables us to pinpoint areas and issues that prevent the emergence of a sustainable and legitimate peace, and demonstrate the importance of relational aspects for people’s experiences of everyday peace.

  • 27.
    Olivius, Elisabeth
    et al.
    Umeå universitet, Statsvetenskapliga institutionen.
    Hedström, Jenny
    Örebro universitet, Institutionen för humaniora, utbildnings- och samhällsvetenskap..
    Young women's leadership in conflict: Crossing borders in Myanmar2020In: Young women and leadership / [ed] Katrina Lee-Koo, Lesley Pruitt, Abingdon & New York: Routledge , 2020, p. 45-63Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Multiple armed conflicts in Myanmar have resulted in long-term, large-scale forced displacement, humanitarian crises, and immense human suffering. However, the borderlands of Myanmar’s neighboring countries have also provided political space for the mobilization of diverse forms of oppositional politics, ranging from armed resistance to human rights documentation, alternative news reporting on the situation in Myanmar, and international networking and lobbying. In particular, since the 1990s these borderlands, most notably the Thai-Myanmar border areas, have seen the emergence of a vibrant and outspoken multi-ethnic women’s movement.

    In this chapter, we explore how young women activists from Myanmar have been able to carve out new spaces and forms of leadership while in exile in Thailand. From its inception, the border-based women’s movement made leadership training - specifically targeting young women - a key feature. We examine the impact of these training programs in the lives of women activists, and trace how graduates of these programs have moved on to lead in ways that have created social and political change within exiled oppositional politics and diaspora communities in Thailand. We analyze how the recent return of exiled activists and oppositional groups to Myanmar reshapes the conditions for young women’s leadership, presenting formerly exiled activists with new challenges as well as new avenues for leadership.

    Our analysis illustrates the political potential of border-crossing in several senses. In a spatial sense, we demonstrate how the diasporic, transnational political space in Thailand enabled young women to challenge age and gender norms and hierarchies to a degree previously unimagined, making young women leaders a significant force in Burmese diasporic politics. We note the importance of international advocacy and transnational networking to the growing recognition of young women as effective leaders, understanding this as another form of border-crossing. However, with return to Myanmar the political space for young women’s leadership is (again) reconfigured; accordingly, the effectiveness of leadership strategies and styles established in exile are reconsidered. In a conceptual sense, our analysis illuminates how young women activists have moved across boundaries between public and private leadership and formal and informal leadership. We highlight how the strategic deployment of women’s reproductive duties in the private sphere have created opportunities for women’s participation in the public sphere, for example in refugee camps and ethnic minority armed organizations.  In the nationwide ceasefire process, women have combined informal advocacy through “tea break advocacy” (Pepper, 2018) with formal positions as leaders of women’s groups. We argue that in skillfully moving across these conceptual boundaries, young women activists’ affect social and political change. Situating border-crossing as a key feature of young women’s leadership in this context, we thus contribute to theorizing the character and impact of young women’s leadership.

  • 28.
    Olivius, Elisabeth
    et al.
    Umeå University, (SWE).
    Hedström, Jenny
    Swedish Defence University, Department of War Studies and Military History, Functions and Perspective Division.
    Phyo, Zin Mar
    Independent researcher, Thailand.
    Feminist peace or state co-optation? The Women, Peace and Security agenda in Myanmar2022In: European Journal of Politics and Gender, ISSN 2515-1088, E-ISSN 2515-1096, Vol. 5, no 1, p. 25-43Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article engages with emerging debates about feminist peace and uses this concept to assess the ability of the Women, Peace and Security agenda to achieve gender-just change. We advance a conception of feminist peace as political conditions that allow women affected by conflict to articulate their visions of change and influence the construction of post-war order. Applying this to a case study of Women, Peace and Security practice in Myanmar, we demonstrate that features of how international aid is organised, combined with the Myanmar government’s interest in excluding critical voices, limit the ability of Women, Peace and Security practices to contribute to feminist peace. This highlights the potential for illiberal post-war states to obstruct and co-opt the Women, Peace and Security agenda, and shows how the women most directly affected by armed conflict are often the least able to participate in, benefit from and inform Women, Peace and Security practices.

  • 29.
    Olivius, Elisabeth
    et al.
    Umeå University, (SWE).
    Hedström, Jenny
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy.
    Phyo, Zin Mar
    Women, Peace and Security in Myanmar after the 2021 military coup2022Other (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This policy brief presents recommendations for how international development and peacebuilding organizations can redirect their work with women, peace and security issues in Myanmar in the wake of the 2021 military coup. In response to urgent needs, it is now critical to provide appropriate and flexible support to women’s organizations; identify and work with local structures for humanitarian response and service delivery; and support new and existing forms of cross-border aid.

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