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Constructing Commongrounds: Everyday Lifeworlds Beyond Politicized Ethnicities in Sri Lanka by Anton Piyarathne

Author:

Tudor Silva

Emeritus Professor in Sociology, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, LK
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Abstract

Since anti-Tamil riots in 1983, the social science literature on Sri Lanka has been preoccupied with understanding the causes and consequences of ethnic polarization in the country, including the emergence of rival Sinhala, Tamil and Islamic nationalisms, politics of conflict and confrontation including the war itself as well as an intractable wave of street violence seemingly triggered by ethnic sentiments, grievances and hostilities.  In contrast, Constructing Commongrounds by Anton Piyarathne moves in the opposite direction- it seeks to identify the commongrounds that enable people of diverse ethnicities living side by side to interact with each other and establish peaceful relations in their day-to-day life in spite of the firmly established identity politics that invariably divide “us” and “them” and limit people to a tunnel vision which diverts attention away from human unity and common problems of poverty, landlessness, unemployment and environmental challenges affecting all groups to varying degrees.  

The book implies that the social scientists have so far paid too much attention on politically driven nationalist agendas and the corresponding processes of emotionally charged “divide and rule” campaigns to the relative neglect of community driven desires for unity, coexistence and search for commongrounds, processes that can actually show us the way out of the current impasse and volcanic eruptions in political nerve centres as well as market places, facebook and on many other fronts.  This publication can be seen as a welcome addition to the social science literature on Sri Lanka by a younger scholar deeply concerned about the social and political reality in the country and the perceived powerlessness of social sciences to influence the very processes carefully scrutinized, assessed and documented by them.          

How to Cite: Silva, T., 2018. Constructing Commongrounds: Everyday Lifeworlds Beyond Politicized Ethnicities in Sri Lanka by Anton Piyarathne. Sri Lanka Journal of Social Sciences, 41(2), pp.153–156. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljss.v41i2.7702
Published on 31 Dec 2018.
Peer Reviewed

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