Book cover. Figure sits on a barrel at the side of a muddy road. Text reads: Winning by Process The State and Neutralization of Ethnic Minorities in Myanmar BY JACQUES BERTRAND, ALEXANDRE PELLETIER AND ARDETH MAUNG THAWNGHMUNG
Book, Southeast Asia, Government & politics, Conflict & security, Asian Institute, Collaborative Master’s and Doctoral Specialization in South Asian Studies

Winning by Process: The State and Neutralization of Ethnic Minorities in Myanmar

Winning by Process asks why the peace process stalled in the decade from 2011 to 2021 despite a liberalizing regime, a national ceasefire agreement, and a multilateral peace dialogue between the state and ethnic minorities.

Winning by Process argues that stalled conflicts are more than pauses or stalemates. "Winning by process," as opposed to winning by war or agreement, represents the state's ability to gain advantage by manipulating the rules of negotiation, bargaining process, and sites of power and resources. In Myanmar, five such strategies allowed the state to gain through process: locking in, sequencing, layering, outflanking, and outgunning. The Myanmar case shows how process can shift the balance of power in negotiations intended to bring an end to civil war. During the last decade, the Myanmar state and military controlled the process, neutralized ethnic minority groups, and continued to impose their vision of a centralized state even as they appeared to support federalism.


Jacques Bertrand is Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto. He is the author, most recently, of Ethnic Minorities and Political Change in Southeast Asia.

Alexandre Pelletier is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Université Laval. Follow him on Twitter at @APPelletier

Ardeth Maung Thawnghmung is Chair of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. She is the author, most recently, of Everyday Economic Survival in Contemporary Myanmar. Follow her on Twitter at @AThawnghmung


"One of the most important books on Myanmar in several years. Clearly conceptualized, well structured, and convincingly argued, Winning by Process is valuable both for understanding the peace process in Myanmar for broader theory-building on peace processes." —Morten Pedersen, coeditor of Principled Engagement.

"This book offers a substantial and highly relevant argument about political and ethnic conflict management in Myanmar. Its originality is grounded in attention to Myanmar's traumatic histories of political conflict and an insightful assessment of complex borderland dynamics." —Nicholas Farrelly, coeditor of Conflict in Myanmar.