Guest Lecture, Dr. Tudor Silva, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka

October 15, 2014 at 78:30 p.m.Calendar Icon

TimeOctober 15, 2014 at 78:30 p.m.
LocationBeck 101

Caste, Social Justice, and Social Policy Dialogue in Sri Lanka

Caste is a taboo subject within Sri Lanka and has received inadequate attention in social science literature, plubic debates and policy discourse, despite the attention given to caste in India and other South Asian countries. There is an unstated assumption in Sri Lanka that not talking about caste is the best strategy for eliminating it. Nevertheless, caste issues have been cited as a reason some Sri Lankan youth are attracted to radical and violent political movements, such as the Marxist JVP, which engaged in armed insurgency in 1971 and again in the late 1980's, and the LTTE (commonly known as the Tamil Tigers), which fought the Sri Lankan government from 1983 to 2009 in the Sri Lankan Civil War. During the war, the LTTE attempted to outlaw caste in order to create broad-based Tamil solidarity. The lowest social castes make up a disproportionate number of Sri Lankans who are poor or displaced by the war, and, with the defeat of the LTTE by the Sri Lankan military in 2009, caste has emerged as a significant issue in the resettlement of internal refugees. Further attention and policy dialogue must be paid to whether avenues of social mobility, such as newly opened labor markets, and state social welfare policies, such as universal coverage policies in health, education, and other social sectors, will actually benefit the social underdogs who have limited influence over the Sri Lankan state.

PostedApr 17, 2019