Anthropology, Politics, and Place in Sri Lanka: South Asian Reflections from an Island Adrift

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Abstract

How does the idea of ‘South Asia’ play out in the politics and public culture of Sri Lanka? As an island, long connected by the trade routes of the Indian Ocean, it has always been a place of comings and goings. Yet, paradoxically, this fact seems to often generate efforts to imagine it as necessarily bounded and unattached to the adjacent subcontinent. The problems of place-making that follow from this move, it is suggested, may be a source of Sri Lanka’s success as a producer of extraordinary anthropologists—anthropologists like the late Stanley Tambiah, whose research in Thailand was self-consciously conceived as a way of understanding the peculiar dilemmas of his homeland.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSouth Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal (SAMAJ)
Volume10
Issue number2014
Publication statusPublished - 25 Dec 2014

Keywords

  • Sri Lanka
  • island
  • anthropology
  • South Asia
  • connection

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