Gerard McCarthy is Associate Director of ANU’s Myanmar Research Centre. He completed his doctoral dissertation, ‘Regressive Democracy: Explaining distributive politics in Myanmar’s transition’, in the ANU Department of Political and Social Change in December 2018. Based on extensive mixed-methods research in provincial Myanmar since 2015, his dissertation examined the historical and contemporary dynamics of market reform, state-society relations and social policy in Myanmar. His advisory committee comprised Dr. Nicholas Farrelly (chair), Dr. Nick Cheesman, Dr. Paul Kenny and Dr. Caroline Schuster.
His Myanmar-focused publications based on this research examines notions of self-reliance and deservingness in state poverty alleviation initiatives; the ideals of ‘moral citizenship’ animating informal social welfare, taxation and public goods provision; provincial elites and the role of philanthropy in their contemporary civilianization of power; the internet, cyber-spaces and social media activism; and the role of gendered rumour-sharing in formation of anti-Muslim sentiment. His writing and commentary has been published and is under review in journals including Conflict, Security and Development, Journal of Contemporary Asia and SOJOURN: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia as well as outlets such as The New York Times, Institute of South East Asian Studies (ISEAS) and New Mandala. He co-edited, with Justine Chambers, Nicholas Farrelly and Chit Win, Myanmar Transformed? People, Places, Politics (ISEAS, 2018).
He has worked with a range of agencies including the International Growth Centre, United States Institute of Peace and The Carter Centre. He was a previously visiting fellow at the Yusof Ishak Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) in 2018 and a visiting scholar at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford (2017) and at University of Yangon’s Department of International Relations (2015).
“Democracy, self-reliance and entitlement in contemporary Myanmar”. Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia. (Forthcoming)
“Veterans’ Affairs in Myanmar’s Reform Process”. Perspective Series. Institute for Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore. 2018. 5 December. http://bit.ly/2Pn5diX
‘Introduction: Myanmar Transformed?’. with Chambers, J. Myanmar Transformed? People, Places, Politics. Chambers, McCarthy, Farrelly & Chit Win (eds). Institute for Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore. 2018. Pg 3-22.
“‘The Value of Life’: Citizenship, entitlement and moral legibility in provincial Myanmar” in South, A. & Lall, M. (eds), Citizenship in Myanmar: ways of being in and from Burma. ISEAS/Chiang Mai Press. 2018. Pg 167-187.
“Cyberspaces”, in Farrelly, Holliday & Smith (eds), Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Myanmar, 2018. London, Routledge. Pg 92-105.
“Gendered rumours and the Muslim scapegoat in Myanmar’s transition”, with Menager, J., Journal of Contemporary Asia, Volume 47, Issue 3 2017. (8 citations).
“Buddhist welfare, informal institutions & the definition of ‘the political’ in provincial Myanmar”, in Cheesman, Farrelly & Sein (eds), Making Sense of Conflict in Myanmar (2016), ISEAS, Singapore. Pg 314-332.
“Building on What’s There: Insights on social protection, taxation and public goods in Taungoo, Bago Region & Thandaungyi, Kayin State”. Working Paper for International Growth Centre Myanmar. September 2016. http://bit.ly/2cHYLRo
“Viral rumours and the quotidian cultivation of political identity in Myanmar’s transition”, with Menager J., in Cheesman (eds), Communal Violence in Myanmar. (2015). Yangon, Myanmar Knowledge Society.
In Myanmar last year, Gerard McCarthy spent hours talking with local merchants who had gone village to village dispersing propaganda sermons from Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu.
As Myanmar prepares for historic polls in November, moral ideas of citizen-led social assistance continue to loom large, writes Gerard McCarthy.