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Anchored in an ethnic-state structure since the 1947 Panglong Agreement, ethnic politics and ethnic determinism in Burma have become imprescriptible in the eyes of various actors, especially ethnic and religious elites, the military junta, civilian authorities, civil society, academics and international bodies. Based on years of field surveys devoted to the study of multiethnic crossroads and the de facto landscapes of hybridity in the highlands of Burma, the anthropological perspective of this paper invites us to leave the identity trap. An essentialist notion of ethnicity is not only at the root of the country's ongoing civil war, but also continues to dictate parliamentary politics in the country. This paper will also consider how the democratic transition is itself caught up in this identity trap.