Journal of Southeast Asian Studies


Guanxi and Regulation in Networks: The Yunnanese Jade Trade between Burma and Thailand, 1962–88

Wen-Chin Chang a1 1
a1 The Center for Asia-Pacific Area Studies of the Academia Sinica in Taibei. Her e-mail contact is

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The article investigates the operation of the jade trading networks from Burma to Thailand during the period of the Burmese socialist regime. The trade, a significant ethnic enterprise undertaken by Yunnanese migrants, has relied on transnational networks that deal with different political and economic systems beyond the jurisdiction of the state. The network approach is used to analyse the intertwining of guanxi formation and regulatory observance.


1 I conducted the field research for this article over a period of four and a half months in 2000 and 2002, while working as a post-doctoral fellow at the Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica. The writing-up of the paper was primarily done in the Southeast Asia Program at Cornell University, where I spent ten months as a Fulbright Visiting Fellow; I am very grateful to both the Fulbright Scholar Program and the Cornell Southeast Asia Program for offering me this wonderful opportunity. I am also greatly indebted to Andrew Walker and Bruce Lockhart for providing me with invaluable critiques during the course of revision. Any remaining mistakes are, however, my own responsibility.