Post-war ideological debates on managing state-society relations are dominated by a notion of ‘development and reconciliation’. The discourse of development and reconciliation assumes that Sri Lanka is in a post-conflict situation, and the end of the war provides the country with an opportunity for a new beginning. It goes on to argue that development and reconciliation should be the prime objectives for this new beginning. This discourse wants to forget the war, how it ended and the implications of these events especially on the nature of the state in Sri Lanka. The defeat of the LTTE in May 2009 has consolidated the juridical entity called the Sri Lankan state through military means, while stability created through military means has created a better condition for deepening of capitalist relations. North and East have been incorporated into this process. Deepening capitalist relations in post-war Sri Lanka will accentuate the social contradictions associated with capitalist development, and add a new dimension to problems of state-society relations. The paper looks at this in four policy areas: land policy, economic exploitation of the North and East, labour policy and inequality. The social outcomes of these will supplement creeping authoritarianism and the unresolved national question as major issues that we need to focus on in understanding state-society relations in post-war Sri Lanka.
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The International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) is an independent, not-for-profit research centre based in Sri Lanka. ICES was established in 1982 with a mission to deepen the understanding of ethnicity, equality, identity politics and conflict, and to foster the conditions for an inclusive, just and peaceful society through research, publication, dialogue, creative expression and knowledge transfer.
Colombo 8, Sri Lanka