Pathways that Changed Myanmar

Matthew Mullen


The story of ordinary Burmese people who have been able to effect meaningful change through subtle, everyday acts of resistance.

In the midst of the political upheavals that engulfed Myanmar from 2010 to 2011, international attention was fixed upon the military regime and its dissident opponents. But away from the cameras, a very different set of struggles were unfolding across the country. These struggles were manifested not as violent clashes, but as everyday interactions involving taxi drivers, community organizers, farmers, heads of domestic NGOs, and many more.

A product of five years' research, during which the author conducted over five hundred ethnographic interviews across the country, Pathways that Changed Myanmar provides a voice for those ordinary Burmese whose trials and aspirations went unheard and unnoticed during this pivotal moment in the nation's history.

Author Bio

Matthew Mullen lectures at the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies, Mahidol University, Thailand. He has written widely on the politics of Myanmar, as well as on oppression and resistance, transitional justice, structural and cultural violence, and business and human rights.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. The clash that galvanized a global movement
  • 3. The Third Force
  • 4. Everyday resistance
  • 5. From bullets to bribery
  • 6. Sanctions: a cure and a disease
  • 7. Nay Win Maung’s funeral
  • 8. From human rights rhetoric to 969
  • 9. Transitioning to an NLD-led Myanmar


'Places a powerful magnifying glass over what precisely is happening in Myanmar...remarkable insights on almost every page.'
The Nation

‘This book captures a story that needed to be told, and extracts lessons for both Myanmar and the world.'
Aung Naing Oo, Burmese peace and democracy advocate

‘Gives voice to all those in Myanmar who continue to fight for change. The change we see in Myanmar today did not fall from the sky. It was made by small steps won each day over years, . This book documents how these steps were taken.’
Nwet Kay Khine, journalist and former editor of The Voice (Myanmar)

‘Provides important insights into how internal politics, foreign powers, and cultural peculiarities can shape transition in the most unexpected ways.’
Yaraslau Kryvoi, University of West London

‘In an era when many are eager to declare themselves “Burma experts”, Matthew Mullen stands out for his humility and thoughtfulness.’
Rosalie Metro, University of Missouri

‘An insightful and rare analysis. Muller’s distinctive voice not only illuminates the big phenomenon but also their significance for people on the ground. An essential read for anybody interested in contemporary Myanmar.’
Claudio Sopranzetti, All Souls College, Oxford

'Mullen’s book sheds light on the reality of everyday life under military rule, and the stories he reveals challenge the narratives we have become accustomed to. During this often difficult period of top-down change in Myanmar, the book is a refreshing reminder that change comes from multiple sources and carries various meanings for each of us.'
Tea Circle, University of Oxford


Publication Date: 15 December 2016
272 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781783605071
Hardback: 9781783605088
eBook ePub: 9781783605101
eBook PDF: 9781783605095
eBook Kindle: 9781783605118

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