Inside Myanmar’s army: I’m reminded of Erving Goffman’s concept of ‘total institutions’

A March 28, 2021 New York Times article is entitled: “Inside Myanmar’s Army: ‘They See Protesters as Criminals’: Four officers spoke about life in the feared Tatmadaw, which has turned its guns on civilians again. ‘The Tatmadaw is the only world’ for most soldiers, one said.”

I am reminded of Erving Goffman’s concept of total institutions.

An excerpt from the New York Times article (which I accessed through the Toronto Public Library website) reads:

In-depth interviews with four officers, two of whom have deserted since the coup, paint a complex picture of an institution that has thoroughly dominated Myanmar for six decades. From the moment they enter boot camp, Tatmadaw troops are taught that they are guardians of a country — and a religion — that will crumble without them.

A second excerpt reads:

The Tatmadaw has been on a war footing since the country gained independence in 1948, battling communist guerrillas, ethnic insurgencies and democracy advocates forced into the jungle after military crackdowns. In the cultlike confines of the Tatmadaw, the Buddhist Bamar ethnic majority is glorified at the expense of Myanmar’s many ethnic minorities, who have faced decades of military repression.

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Click here for a page devoted among other topics to mindfulness meditation, Myanmar, and strongly held belief systems of all kinds >

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