A Bibliographic Survey on State-Minority Contestations in Post-Colonial Sri Lanka

  •  M. M. Fazil    


There is an extensive body of literature that delves deeply into the question of how a state is constituted, by examining it from various theoretical and empirical perspectives. Scholars engaged in the field of political science, as well as in other fields such as the social sciences, are constantly endeavouring to explain the myriad ways in which states are formed in different regions of the world. According to one set of academics, the social setup that prevailed in most of the post-colonial states of Asia, Africa, and Latin America was mainly due to the plurality of their multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic, and multi-cultural populations. This plurality had a profound effect on the way the state was formed. A significant volume of literature on Sri Lanka too is available, much of which approaches the question of state formation and reconstitution from the standpoint of ethnicity and nationalism. This survey reviews both the theoretical and empirical literature on state constitution/ formation and pays special attention to three main themes; viz. theories on state constitution (formation), research on post-colonial state formation, and studies about Sri Lankan politics. The state-in-society theory is studied with focus on the crucial question of how state and society transform and constitute one another. This is a qualitative study based on text analysis. A wide selection of existing literature was reviewed. This survey shows that there is a paucity of research work on post-colonial state formation in Sri Lanka and state-minority contestations. It also draws attention to the research gaps in existing literature and the need to explore them further.

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