Even Fish Have an Ethnicity

by Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA), Colombo, January 31, 2017

Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA) cordially invites you to a CEPA Cafe event presenting Even fish have an ethnicity… : a study on how ethnic identities mediate livelihoods in a fishing community in post-war Sri Lanka

While discussions on ethnicity and tensions based on ethnic interactions are still very important in post-war Sri Lanka, these discourses  are insufficient to explain the nation’s post-war social tensions as well as the inequalities that lead to these tensions. A study conducted in coastal Trincomalee over a period of thirteen months by PhD candidate Gayathri Lokuge explores how these ethnic dynamics are manifested in the mundane day to day lives of men and women as an ideological concept that men and women subscribe to, and as a rallying force for political means. From ‘ethnicised’ types of fish to ‘ethnicised’ fishing methods, from morality and legitimacy to ‘illegal’ fishing, ethnicity pervades life in post-war coastal Trincomalee. However, ethnic identity is socially constructed. In times of civil unrest, ethnicity becomes a political and social construct. Further, similar to the way men and women do gender, men and women of different ethnicities, caste and class groups do ethnicity. This doing, is usually mediated by ethnicity’s interaction with other social identity categories such as gender, caste and location. Gayathri’s study attempted to understand how these identity constructions mediated differentiated access to livelihood spaces for men and women and in turn, how livelihood activities of men and women shape ethnic and other identity categories and their meaning.

The event will be at: 4.30 pm—6.00 pm, on 2nd February 2017 at the Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA), 29, R.G. Senanayake Mawatha, Colombo 07.

Presenter: Gayathri Lokuge, CEPA

Chair: Asha Abeyasekera, CEPA

Discussants: Malathi De Alwis, University of Colombo, & Vjiay Nagaraj, LST

If you would like to attend, please RSVP or 011 4690215

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