Sri Lanka has been through vicissitudes of change in the past three decades and its current political order gives the impression of the possibility for a different vision for Sri Lanka. Yet in order to appreciate the continuities and disruptions to Sri Lanka’s polity and the possibility of a politics of reconciliation, the contributors to this special issue argue that we also need to redirect our attention away from the state. It is an initial call that seeks to disentangle the ways in which the various constituents that make up the state, including capital and labour, are also implicated or suffer from a tragic perpetuation of an ethno-nationalist agenda that keeps morphing into various guises at fraught moments. A politics of reconciliation then, it suggests, cannot simply be limited to a political package that does not recognize the very economic disempowerment of large segments of people. The contributors to this special issue come from varying disciplines and adopt a range of methods to explore how this politics of reconciliation is understood, endorsed and contested in the everyday lives of Sri Lankan people.