Embodying and fashioning headship A day in the life of a village headman in the center of Myanmar
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Embodying and Fashioning Headship: A Day in the Life of a Village Headman in the Center of Myanmar

Auteur(s) Stephen Huard

This article proposes an analysis of local politics through an ethnographic exploration of headship. It approaches the experience and enactment of politics by describing a day in the life of a headman in rural lowland Myanmar to show how an individual embodies and fashions headship through successive social settings. More specifically, this ethnographic device is a way to analyze what a headman, as a situated figure and a political institution embedded in a local society, mediates in context. The paper discusses how a headman composes with multiple layers of responsibilities and chains of relationships, delineating uncertain boundaries between the personal, the political, and the government domains that partly organize local politics. While updating the literature on Bamar lowland society after more than half a century of dictatorship, the paper suggests a position from which we might reconsider the village headman as an ethnographic starting point for an anthropology concerned with history.