The political economy of the Kachin revolutionary household

Jenny Elisabeth Hedstrom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Applying a feminist political economy analysis of the Kachin military movement, this article will be mapping women's involvement in the armed uprising since the outbreak of the conflict in 1961, demonstrating the centrality of gender relations for the war. Using primary data, this article will show how the household provides essential support to the Kachin war effort in the shape of emotional, physical and material labour, thus underscoring the critical role played by women in maintaining the conflict. Examining the relationship between narratives of gendered insecurity in the community and notions of militarized duty, this article will argue that the Kachin armed forces have employed gendered notions of security and duty to legitimize and sustain the conflict. The importance of normative gender relations for providing labour and emotional and material support for the conflict will then be examined, showing how the household is situated as the nucleus of the armed revolution. The findings in this article thus reveal a need to take into account the relationship between the household and the armed conflict, arguing that the household is a site inseparably linked to nationalistic objectives, underpinning the economic and ideological structures of military movements. Interventions aiming at resolving the conflict in Kachin must therefore consider the importance of gender relations in upholding the political-economy infrastructure of the military movement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-595
Number of pages15
JournalPacific Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • conflict
  • gender
  • household
  • Kachin
  • Myanmar

Cite this