The Fragmented Island: Ethnic Conf1ict and the Politics of Culture in Sri Lanka
AbstractThis article examines the role of culture in the ethnic conflict and strife in Sri Lanka. The general aim is to achieve an understanding of the nationalist process, the force of nationalist ideas and traditions in motivating action-action that is often violent and intolerant-and to demonstrate the value of a cultural approach to the understanding of modern societies. Culture has been examined in two ways here, namely, the dramaturgic approach to culture which emphasizes the expressive dimensions of culture, and the politics of culture or the political culture approach, whereby cultural manifestations are utilized effectively to maintain power between groups. The article concludes that the SinhaleseTamil conflict is a product of modem politics, and culture has been used effectively to legitimate rival nationalisms in Sri Lanka.
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