Sri Lanka - from a model democracy to a story of rivalry and inequalities

New book by Shyamika Jayasundara-Smits

In her new publication, An Uneasy Hegemony: Politics of State-building and Struggles for Justice in Sri Lanka, Dr Shyamika Jayasundara-Smits discusses the tensions in state building in Sri Lanka.

From the publisher

Sri Lanka has been regarded as a model democracy among former British colonies. It was lauded for its impressive achievement in terms of human development indicators.

However, Sri Lanka's modern history can also be read as a tragic story of inter-ethnic inequalities and tensions, resulting in years of violent conflicts. Two long spells of anti-state youth uprisings were followed by nearly three decades of civil war, and most recently a renewed upsurge of events are examples of the on-going uneasy project of state-building.

Sri Lanka's struggle for hegemony

This book discusses that state-building in Sri Lanka is centred on the struggle for hegemony amidst a kind of politics that rejects individual and group equality, opposes the social integration of marginalized groups and appeals to narrow, fearful and xenophobic tendencies among the majority population and minorities alike.

    Dr Shyamika Jayasundara-Smits

    The book answers the pressing questions:

    • How do the dynamics of intra-Sinhalese class relations and Sinhalese politics influence the trajectories of post-colonial state-building? 
    • What tensions emerge over time, between Sinhalese hegemony-building and wider state-building?
    • How did these tensions manifest in majority and minority relationships?
    Assistant professor

    Dr Shyamika Jayasundara-Smits

    More information

    You can order An Uneasy Hegemony: Politics of State-building and Struggles for Justice in Sri Lanka in print from the publisher's website. An online publication is set to release this summer.

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