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Discourses of Exclusion: The Societal Securitization of Burma’s Rohingya (2012–2018)

Adam E. Howe

Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs, 2018, vol. 5, issue 3, 245-266

Abstract: Abstract The contemporary persecution of Burma’s Rohingya has rapidly evolved from isolated episodes of communal violence into a global humanitarian crisis. The article analyses the evolution of the recent violence in Rakhine State from 2012 to the present. Specifically, I argue that Buddhist nationalist monks, including members of the ‘969’ Movement and Ma Ba Tha, in concert with the Burmese government, have acted as authoritative voices in society, depicting the Rohingya ethno-religious group as an existential threat to the country’s majority Buddhist population. As such, hate-filled rhetoric has provided a politically unstable Burmese regime with an ideological justification for human rights abuses committed in Rakhine State. This phenomenon is analysed through Barry Buzan and Ole Waever’s securitization thesis as a means of better understanding the discursive relationship among Buddhist nationalist monks, the Burmese government and the Burmese Buddhists. Ontologically, this article focuses on anti-Rohingya discourse and major episodes of violence in western Burma’s Rakhine State from 2012 to 2018. As a discursive process, securitization has not merely amplified Islamophobia within Burma, but significantly endangers future generations of Rohingya civilians.

Keywords: Burma; Myanmar; Rohingya; securitization; ethnic conflict (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1177/2347797018799000

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Handle: RePEc:sae:asseca:v:5:y:2018:i:3:p:245-266