Can regime change improve ethnic relations? Perception of ethnic minorities after the 2021 coup in Myanmar

Roman DAVID, Aung Kaung MYAT, Ian HOLLIDAY

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

Abstract

Regime change often exacerbates ethnic conflict. This article examines the curious case of Myanmar, where a 2021 military coup was met, on the surface, with broad-based resistance across a divided society. An important question that therefore arises is whether, below the surface, this unity also took a more positive form of national solidarity. Were deep ethnic cleavages intensified or alleviated by the 2021 coup? This question bears theoretical relevance for the study of ethnic conflict and has social relevance for a nation marked by a long history of civil war and a recent experience of genocide against Rohingya Muslims. The article engages in a systematic examination of 180 social media posts uploaded in Burmese by key opinion leaders both before and after the coup. A qualitative analysis of major positive and negative themes indicates a shift in attitudes. The quantitative analysis shows that ethnic relations, measured by a change in themes, ratings and virality, improved significantly in the immediate aftermath of Myanmar's 2021 coup.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalJapanese Journal of Political Science
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 May 2022

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