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The Myth of the “Three Shan Brothers” and the Ava Period in Burmese History

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 March 2010

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Change, or impending change, can often inspire the creation of myths, for it both threatens and promises. It threatens the security of the established, while providing hope to the disestablished. Change thus produces anxiety and discomfort on the one hand, euphoria and optimism on the other. Those in a position to be harmed by the change often create “negative” myths about the potential implications of that change; those not, glorify it. To misquote Claude Levi-Strauss, myths are created to control the present, hence, by implication, also the future (Levi-Strauss 1979).

Copyright © The Association for Asian Studies, Inc. 1996

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