Customary justice and legitimacy in Southern Shan State

Southern Shan State in Myanmar is characterized by legal pluralism. A multitude of non-state actors, such as traditional leaders, Buddhist monks and armed groups, are engaged in dispute resolution. In my research I ask, how does strategic cooperation between non-state actors affect the legitimacy of these informal mediators and adjudicators? Through ethnographic fieldwork in rural communities of Southern Shan State informed primarily by legal and political anthropology, including work by Laura Nader and James C. Scott, I attempt to map out the relationships between non-state actors involved in justice production in my field site. My larger aim is to analyse local concepts of “conflict” and “justice” in conditions of legal pluralism.