17 April 2019
Thesis Examination: Contested Peace and Flexible Return - Agency and Political Inclusion in the 
Continuous Movement of Karen IDPs in Myanmar
Events Detail : -

RCSD Center, Faculty of Social Sciences, Chiang Mai University is pleased to invite you to participate in a Thesis Examination
"Contested Peace and Flexible Return: Agency and Political Inclusion in the 
Continuous Movement of Karen IDPs in Myanmar"
Presenter: Mr. Elliot Lodge, M.A in Social Science (Development Studies)
Examining committee
Asst. Prof. Dr. Prasert Rangkla
(Thammasat University)
Lect. Dr. Chayan Vaddhanaphuti
(Faculty of Social Sciences, Chiang Mai University)
Lect. Dr. Mukdawan Sakboon
(Faculty of Social Sciences, Chiang Mai University)
Wednesday 17th April 2019 from 15.00 p.m.
Subaltern meeting room, basement floor, Operational building
Faculty of Social Sciences


The global architecture for managing the protracted displacement of people has frequently buckled under the
pressure of national sovereignty and geopolitical manoeuvring and, with the number of refugees and the internally
displaced continuing to swell, it rightfully faces greater sustained criticism than perhaps at any point since its post-
war inception. Specifically, by framing ‘repatriation’ as the most desired of three ‘durable solutions’ to protracted displacement, the framework, in a practical sense, accounts only for the limited movements of individuals with refugee status back to the locality they fled. By its very nature it places unrealistic efforts at achieving sustainable outcomes on broader processes of peace and resettlement that are assumed to provide appropriate conditions for return, but rarely do so.
The Internally Displaced People (IDPs) of Ee Tu Hta in Karen State, Myanmar, are a vivid representation of how
this system fails to understand, let alone engage, with common experiences of displacement. After more than a
decade of international assistance, the camp has faced a cessation in humanitarian food aid and as a result people are making strategic choices on how to sustain livelihoods for themselves and their families. While there are elements that are specific to this particular example, a glance at similar situations, both in Asia and beyond, suggests that people termed as ‘displaced’ are often in continuous movement - both within and across national boundaries - and, even while staying in a fixed location, their agency, political association and sense of place undermines the assumptions of the structures designed to manage the ‘displaced’.