From compassion to the will to improve: Elision of scripts? Philanthropy in post-tsunami Sri Lanka

Kanchana N Ruwanpura, Pia Hollenbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The paper analyses how two private post-tsunami reconstruction initiatives in Sri Lanka mobilized well intended aid to support and assist tsunami affected families, drawing on narratives of compassion, which resulted in an inadvertent obtrusion of the moral imperatives of donors upon the lives of aid receivers. We trace the discursive terrain around goodness, kindness and compassion utilized to generate donations. This quickly slipped into the practical construction of village models that reflected individuals’ ideas and understandings of development, modernism, social consciousness and peaceful coexistence. This merging, we argue, quickly subverted intention for the ‘betterment of villagers lives’, and became a means through which donors made claims on villages and impressed their will upon recipients. Given that private donor involvement in post-tsunami Sri Lanka was a critical factor shaping conditions on the ground, we contend that it is important to unpack their (powerful) role in giving meaning to building back better.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-251
Number of pages9
JournalGeoforum
Volume51
Issue number1
Early online date7 May 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014

Keywords

  • Post-tsunami; Sri Lanka; Scripting of development; Village revitalization
  • Philanthropy
  • Sri Lanka
  • Scripting of development
  • Village revitalization

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'From compassion to the will to improve: Elision of scripts? Philanthropy in post-tsunami Sri Lanka'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this