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Crumpton and Myanmar Research Group Initiate a "Micro Transitional Justice" Process


In August 2022, SSW adjunct professor David Crumpton and a Myanmar research group that he advises in Northern Thailand will begin an innovative approach to pursuing a future for grassroots governance and transitional justice in Myanmar. The Myanmar Advocacy Research Group (MARG) is a outgrowth of Dr. Crumpton's 2021-2022 Fulbright Scholar Grant at Chiang Mai University where he designed and directed a seminar regarding future governance in a post-military regime Myanmar. Since the end of the seminar in September 2021, MARG has developed a model of grassroots governance based on the principals of deliberative democracy and deliberative systems that it labels "inductive governance." This model visualizes establishing a national system of governance and policymaking based on grassroots needs and priorities. In a new process that MARG calls "learning discussions," its inductive governance principals will be blended with concepts and practices of transitional justice to produce a localized framing that leads to the terminology of "micro transitional justice." Rather than consider the problematic macro issues associated with finding transitional justice in response to national abuses of Myanmar's military regime, the "micro" approach focuses on relations among ethnic, religious, and other identity groups on the grassroots level in the search for common understandings framed by shared or similar experiences of injustice. The idea is that, in addition to developing new and more deeply rooted democratic commitments, the process can produce shared understandings that cross group identities to strengthen resistance to the military regime in the short term and improve prospects for a democratic future in the long term.


The hundreds of thousands of members of the Myanmar diaspora that live in Northern Thailand form the target population for this project. Recruiting Gen Z and cross-generational participants from this population, MARG will conduct a series of focus group discussion (FGD) type learning discussions and open forums in Chiang Mai and Mae Sot, Thailand. The participants will be encouraged to share their experiences of injustice, learn about grassroots governance and "micro transitional justice," and develop and apply their own ideas regarding how these ideas might guide a post-military regime Myanmar.

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