Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Ledgerwood, Judy

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Anthropology


This thesis explores the process through which identity intertwines with participation in contentious politics to form an imagined community characterized by opposition to a state government. Specifically, it draws on the memories, actions, and goals of individuals from Burma who act in opposition to the government of Burma while living in Thailand. It demonstrates that, for a displaced political coalition, this process results in an imagined opposition community that draws on local, regional, national, and global communities for ideological and material support.

This thesis further posits that, in order for such an imagined opposition community to successfully resist and influence hegemonic pressures, civil society initiatives have used ideological affiliation as a gateway into forming political coalitions with Western international non-governmental organizations. This affiliation, discussed through the paradigms of social memory, identity, and globalization theory, demonstrates the ways in which a transnational setting alters the nature of state-centric views on political contention.


147 pages




Northern Illinois University

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