Seminar on Democratic Change in Myanmar
Presented by: Bob Anderson, Wednesday 10 October 2012, room K8652, SFU Burnaby, 12:30-1:30 pm
Since the elections of November 2010 and immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest, the shift of political energies and opening of opportunities inside Myanmar have been dramatic, and surprising even to close observers. People have asked if the enthusiasm of the “Arab Spring” might have had an influence in the realm of the generals?
It was widely expected that the introduction of internet connectivity, new media, and social networks based on cell-phones would, together and/or separately, by-pass the long established martial-law mechanisms of control and self-censorship. But did those new technologies operate in the ways expected?
What were the roles of these new media in those changes? What were the roles of old media like songs, theatre, radio, movies, television, and newsprint? How about the external reception of images and voices from inside, did that international reception, when known, feed back into the scenes of action? How about google?
Finally, how long before that big-bang event in November 2010 could one discern shifts and counter-shifts in communication which, in retrospect, seem to have “foreshadowed” what came after? And in the world of sanctions-warriors and their opponents, was there an element of the Rashomon-effect there too? What effects have sanctions had in everyday communication?
More importantly, its not over, whatever “it” is; its not over, not yet. Wouldn't forty-nine years of martial-law communication constitute a deep form of inertia?
Please come to this conversation, with graphic illustrations; Bob Anderson is a professor of communication and director of the Development & Sustainability Program in the Faculty of Environment. He has been building a network of young environmentalists in Myanmar since 1998. He has just been awarded an IDRC grant to enlarge this work.