IJSSH 2014 Vol.4(6): 443-450 ISSN: 2010-3646
DOI: 10.7763/IJSSH.2014.V4.396

Construction of Social Lives in Ethno-Politically Ruptured Sri Lanka

Anton Piyarathne
Abstract—At the end of the three decade old (ethnic) war, Sri Lankans are slowly but progressively moving towards reconciliation and, perhaps, to finding political solutions to many issues. This progress raises the question of how people from different ethnic and religious backgrounds collaborate when the political and social environment is still vulnerable to tensions and clashes. In order to explore this situation further, I carried out seventeen months of phenomenological research in Sri Lanka, observing many examples of inter-ethnic collaborations. In this article, I describe such everyday collaborations through which I call “commongrounds”, a concept I employ to illustrate the ways and means in which the multi-ethnic middle-class community create harmonious social space for everyone to share in ethno-politically volatile Sri Lankan society. I will draw upon insights from Barth, Harrison, Bourdieu and Neofotistos to discuss my research findings on how members of Sri Lanka’s middle-class community create everyday relationships based upon their own classifications of “good” and “bad”, which cross rigid ethnic boundaries.

Index Terms—Ethnicity, nationalism, commongrounds, middle-class, ethnic conflict, Sri Lanka.

Anton Piyarathne is with the Department of Anthropology, Macquarie University, NSW 2109, Australia and Department of Social Studies, The Open University of Sri Lanka, Nawala, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka (e-mail: anton.piyarathne@mq.edu.au, antonpiyarathne@gmail.com, apiya@ou.ac.lk).

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Cite: Anton Piyarathne, " Construction of Social Lives in Ethno-Politically Ruptured Sri Lanka," International Journal of Social Science and Humanity vol. 4, no. 6, pp. 443-450, 2014.

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