Sovereignty, Space and Civil War in Sri Lanka: Porous Nation, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Sovereignty, Space and Civil War in Sri Lanka

Porous Nation, 1st Edition

By Anoma Pieris

Routledge

236 pages | 35 B/W Illus.

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Description

Analyses of the Sri Lankan civil war (1983–2009) overwhelmingly represent it as an ethnonationalist contest, prolonging postcolonial arguments on the creation and dissolution of the incipient nation-state since independence in 1948. While colonial divide-and-rule policies, the rise of ethnonationalist lobbies, structural discrimination and majoritarian democracy have been established as grounds for inter-ethnic hostility, there are other significant transformative forces that remain largely unacknowledged in postcolonial analyses.

This ambitious multiscalar spatial study of civil war in Sri Lanka offers an intersectional, de-ethnicised analysis of political sovereignty drawn out by the struggle for territory. Based on vital retrospective findings from the five-year postwar period, when wartime hostilities were still festering, it convincingly links ethnonationalism to postnational border politics, marketisation, militarised securitisation and illiberal democracy. This book argues that internecine conflict exposes the implicit violence within nation-state formations; mass human displacements heighten collective and individual ontological insecurity and neoliberalism makes the nation porous in unforeseen ways. Based around three themes – normative spaces, human mobilities and exilic states – it is organised into ten comprehensive, chapter-based explorations of a range of spatial units, including homes, cities, routes, camps and experiences of ruin that were irrevocably politicised by protracted conflict. Focusing on their material transformations over a thirty-seven-year period, the book explores what can be known of the war if we look beyond ethnicity to other salient, shared geographical features of this embattled history. The book uncovers how fealty to exclusionary cultures of political sovereignty aligns us with their violence, limiting our capacity for empathy, a boundary seemingly exacerbated by neoliberal opportunities.

Making use of Sri Lanka as a case study to test geographic, architectural and urban methodologies for understanding violence, this book acts as a provocation to rethink current readings of the particular case study while reflecting on the more general impact of marketisation and militarisation in Asia. It will be of interest to an interdisciplinary audience, including those scholars interested in South Asian history, politics and civil war, South Asian studies, border studies, geography and architecture and urban studies.

Table of Contents

Introduction:Border

Part I: Normative Spaces

1. Nation

2. Home

3. City

Part II: Human Mobilities

4. Route

5. Camp

6. Site

Part III: Exilic States

7. Ruin

8. Exile

9. Settlement

About the Author

Anoma Pieris is an associate professor at the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, The University of Melbourne, Australia. She is an architectural historian by training with a specialist focus on South and Southeast Asian architecture. Her previous publications include Architecture and Nationalism in Sri Lanka (Routledge, 2012) and, co-authored with Janet McGaw, Assembling the Centre (Routledge, 2014).

About the Series

Routledge/Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) South Asian Series

Founded in 1986 to publish outstanding work in the social sciences and humanities, the series entered a new phase in 2010 when it joined with Routledge to continue a notable tradition of Australian-based research about South Asia. Works in the series are published in both UK and Indian editions.

The series publishes outstanding research on the countries and peoples of South Asia across a wide range of disciplines including history, politics and political economy, anthropology, geography, literature, sociology and the fields of cultural studies, communication studies and gender studies. Interdisciplinary and comparative research is encouraged.

New submissions are welcome! Please contact Duncan McDuie-Ra, d.mcduie@unsw.edu.au

Editorial Board:

Assa Doron, Australian National University

Ramaswami Harindranath, UNSW Australia

Kama Macelan, UNSW Australia

Priya Chacko, University of Adelaide, Australia

Meera Ashar, Australian National University

Michael Gillan, University of Western Australia

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOC008000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General