Thu Thu was awarded the 2020 BERA Masters Dissertation Award for her dissertation Exploring Governance and Governmentality in Myanmar’s Education Reforms.
The abstract for her dissertation is below:
This thesis is a study of the work of government. More specifically, it is a study of how the work of governing is done within Myanmar’s education reforms using the governance and governmentality perspectives.
In focusing on the government’s neoliberal rationality through a Foucauldian discourse analysis of the policy texts and interviews with three key-informants, my substantive argument in this thesis is that Myanmar’s education reforms are governed by a neoliberal rationality that has transformed and (re)configured the aims and ethos of education to align with the country’s broader aims of economic development and national competitiveness. Education is used as a site of neoliberal governmentality and education policy, specifically, as discourses (and, consequently, practices) that structure fields of possible rationalities, thoughts and action suited for the neoliberal aims of government. The governmentality perspective illuminates how individuals are made active and responsible to suit those aims – not only to be aware of and work towards meeting certain expectations, but also to invent and present themselves as the ideal enterprising subject. Consequently, I use the governance perspective to discuss the state’s privatisation agenda as concerned with designing the conditions and parameters in which these enterprising individuals can pursue these outcomes.
Taken together, these two perspectives point the way towards an understanding of the various ways in which the steering and governing mechanisms of the state (e.g. privatisation) come to influence individual conduct (become neoliberal enterprising citizens), and vice versa. In combining the governance and governmentality perspectives to explore the rationalities and technologies of government within the discourses of Myanmar’s education reforms, this thesis makes both an empirical contribution to the wider literature on Myanmar’s education reforms as well as a theoretical contribution to approaches on the work of governing.