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Mapping Conflict in Myanmar: A Geographic Information System (GIS) Approach to the Analysis of Riots and Battles

  • Journal of Asia-Pacific Studies
  • Abbr : JAPS
  • 2018, 25(4), pp.287-314
  • DOI : 10.18107/japs.2018.25.4.010
  • Publisher : Institute of Global Affairs
  • Research Area : Social Science > Social Science in general
  • Received : November 14, 2018
  • Accepted : December 10, 2018
  • Published : December 30, 2018

Jinyoung Lee 1 HYUN JIN CHOI 2

1경희대학교 국제개발협력연구센터
2경희대학교 정치외교학과

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study utilizes GIS data to analyze key features of riots, battles within Myanmar over 2015-2016. Three hypotheses inform this research. First, regions with economically disadvantaged minority groups are more likely to experience political violence than other areas with more broad-based economic advantage. Second, the higher the level of discrimination the part of the Myanmar government toward local minorities, the more frequent the disturbances will be. Third, the battles occur systematically and have larger displacements than violent demonstration. Our analysis of the spatial distribution of political violence in Myanmar reveals that the causes vary considerable across different regions of the country. Higher instances can be seen in areas where ethnic minorities suffer from political and/ or economic discrimination, and this seems to further increase with distance from the capital. Another clear pattern that emerges from the analysis of GIS data for conflict shows that riots occur most frequently in densely populated cities and are directly linked to food security issues such as soaring prices due to droughts. This approach to mapping occurrences of diverse kinds of violent conflict, and their spread to other areas of the country helps us to more clearly identify the causes of such disturbances, and to identify the distinguishing features that mark conflicts related to systematic political discrimination, as opposed incidents of sporadic riots.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.