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description Journal article public PCD Journal

Reorienting the Study of Citizenship in Sri Lanka

Nira Wikramasinghe
Published 2009

Abstract

Knowledge production on the concept of ‘citizenship' in Sri Lanka has suffered firstly from the anglophilia of most research in the social sciences undertaken in the postcolonial period. Unlike in the French republican tradition where the ‘citoyen' and its relation to the state is at the center of all political thought, British political thought gives precedence to the individual and his/her rights per se. Historical circumstances too, namely the Tamil insurrection in the North and East of the country further oriented scholars towards research directly related to what became known as the ‘national issue', the ‘ethnic issue' or simply the conflict. In many ways the intrusion of the ‘here and the now' compounded by sponsored research in the new fi eld of confl ict resolution determined the course and the frames of intellectual inquiry in Sri Lanka as well as its gaps and shortfalls from the late 1970s. This was simply not the right time for studies on citizenship to flourish.

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