Energy and Culture, The Social Construction of the Myanmar-China Pipelines
Transnational oil and gas pipelines have a troublesome history of disagreements and disputes that in many cases have led to a cessation of supply. While geopolitics and weak international institutions are often pointed to as explanations, considering pipelines as social as well as material constructs can also shed light on why disputes emerge. This paper will consider the social construction of the Myanmar-China pipelines. In China, the pipelines are seen as the solution to China’s ‘Malacca dilemma’. In Myanmar, the changing political situation has allowed new actors to contest the military junta’s narrative of economic development and the pipelines have become a lightning rod for national conversations about local resource ownership, social and environmental norms and Chinese exploitation of Myanmar’s energy resources.