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Romancing Human RightsGender, Intimacy, and Power between Burma and the West$
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Tamara C. Ho

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780824839253

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824839253.001.0001

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Performative Politics of Aung San Suu Kyi (or Papa’s Baby and Mama’s Maybe)

Performative Politics of Aung San Suu Kyi (or Papa’s Baby and Mama’s Maybe)

(p.64) 4 Performative Politics of Aung San Suu Kyi (or Papa’s Baby and Mama’s Maybe)
Romancing Human Rights

Tamara C. Ho

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the representations and self-presentation of Aung San Suu Kyi during her entry into Burmese politics and her almost two decades of house arrest, with particular emphasis on her rhetorical and performative skill as well as the bodily and gendered rhetoric employed by various stakeholders. The chapter highlights Aung San Suu Kyi's flexible and tactical use of displacement and the manner in which she negotiated antagonistic oppositions, such as male/female, military/citizenry, intellect/body, religion/politics, and Burma/West. It explores the gendered operations of national and transnational power by focusing primarily on Aung San Suu Kyi's performativity, early writing, speeches, and incarceration in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. It argues that Aung San Suu Kyi represents a model of theory/practice by negotiating the interrelationships among the discourses of human rights and fascism, Buddhism and democracy, nationalism and cosmopolitanism, and gender and power. The case of Aung San Suu Kyi and her mother, Daw Khin Kyi, shows that Burmese women are capable of crossing and translating across borders of culture and nation.

Keywords:   performativity, Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese politics, house arrest, displacement, power, Daw Khin Kyi, gender, human rights, democracy

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