UMD 22: Negotiated Spaces and Kyukyaw Liminalities

Life and Community in the Informal Settlements of Mandalay’s Ayeyarwady Riverbank

Focused on two adjacent riverbank communities in urban Mandalay with drastically different geographies and forms of materiality, this research attempts to show how livelihoods and community are both shaped by and actively shape space. This study follows the communities from their origins and the mobilities that brought rural families to settle by the riverbank, and the mobilities that continue today. The study analyzes how human agency, vibrant social dynamics, and the ability to negotiate a more viable existence constantly face external threats, such as public discourse towards kyu, state directives against informal communities, natural challenges such as flooding, and the uncompromising urban economy. The lived realities of these people present a challenge to dominant assumptions and forms of discourse constructed around them.

Publication date: February 2022