Outsourcing the Polity: Non-State Welfare, Inequality, and Resistance in Myanmar

Hosted by the Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre

Online via Zoom


Dr Gerard McCarthy

Dr Gerard McCarthy

Assistant Professor, International Institute of Social Studies

Dr Htwe Htwe Thein

Dr Htwe Htwe Thein

Associate Professor, Curtin University


Prof. John Sidel

Prof. John Sidel

Sir Patrick Gillam Chair in International and Comparative Politics, LSE SEAC Associate

SEAC hosted Dr Gerard McCarthy (SEAC Visiting Fellow in 2022) who discussed his recent book Outsourcing the Polity: Non-State Welfare, Inequality, and Resistance in Myanmar and his work examining how ideals and practices of non-state welfare can both sustain democratic resistance and undermine social reform over time. This event was recorded and can be watched here. 

Speaker and Chair Biographies:

Dr Gerard McCarthy is Assistant Professor of Social Policy and Development at the International Institute of Social Studies (part of Erasmus University of Rotterdam). He specialises in the politics of inequality and development in Southeast Asia, especially Myanmar where he has researched democracy, welfare and authoritarian legacies since 2013. His book, 'Outsourcing the Polity: Non-State Welfare, Inequality and Resistance in Myanmar' is published with Cornell University Press in February 2023. He was previously Research Fellow at National University of Singapore's Asia Research Institute (2020-2023) and Visiting Fellow at London School of Economics and Politics Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre (Sept-Dec 2022), Associate Director, Myanmar Research Centre at Australian National University (ANU) (2016-2019) and Visiting Fellow at Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), Singapore (2018). He has conducted extensive qualitative and survey research in provincial areas of Myanmar focusing on informal political and economic institutions and how these work to entrench precarity and inequality at the heart of contemporary democratic practice. He has also worked and conducted fieldwork in Singapore, South Sudan, Sri Lanka and Thailand. 

Dr Htwe Htwe Thein is an Associate Professor in International Business at the Faculty of Business and Law, Curtin University in Western Australia, where she has been teaching for the last 19 years, specialising in international business, responsible management in Asia, and cross-cultural interactions. She is internationally known for her work on international business and the economy in Myanmar and has co-authored numerous publications on business topics.  She has specialised expertise in corporate social responsibility and labour relations in Myanmar’s garment industry.  She is also well-known as a commentator on foreign direct investment and development and business and human rights in Myanmar.  She is widely published in books and journals around the world, has received various awards and is also a member of Curtin’s Sustainability in Business Council.

Prof. John Sidel is the Sir Patrick Gillam Professor of International and Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Professor Sidel received his BA and MA from Yale University and his PhD from Cornell University. He is the author of Capital, Coercion, and Crime: Bossism in the Philippines (1999), Philippine Politics and Society in the Twentieth Century: Colonial Legacies, Postcolonial Trajectories (2000), Riots, Pogroms, Jihad: Religious Violence in Indonesia (2006), The Islamist Threat in Southeast Asia: A Reassessment (2007), Thinking and Working Politically in Development: Coalitions for Change in the Philippines (2020, with Jaime Faustino) and a forthcoming book Republicanism, Communism, Islam: Cosmopolitan Origins of Revolution in Southeast Asia.

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This event was recorded and can be watched here

Photo by Saw Wunna on Unsplash