Nationalistic Authorship and Resistance in Northeastern Sri Lanka

Dr Rachel Seoigheby Rachel Seoighe, ‘Society and Culture in South Asia’ 2(1) 1–30, 2016

Nationalist Authorship Resistance in NE Sri Lanka 2016

Post-war Sri Lanka is defined by the logic of Sinhala-Buddhist nationalism,
glorification and expansion of the military, and the exponential growth
of state-corporate economic projects. This article examines the
performative politics of the state in mass ritual discourse and spatial
domination while acknowledging the various ways in which elements
of the Northeastern Tamil community in Sri Lanka are mobilising as an
activist community in the post-war period, including political agitation
and emancipatory initiatives that respond to social justice issues, such as
land grabs. Offering an analysis premised on the concept of performative
politics, this article interrogates the process by which the state defines
itself, while the Tamil community has used performative politics to
communicate the unacceptability of the post-war performance of
power. A framework of performative politics in post-war Sri Lanka,
I argue, introduces a new grammar of politics more responsive to the
nationalistic Sinhala-Buddhist settler-colonial tendencies of the state
and to the polyvalent nature of Tamil resistance. On the international
level, the state performatively complies with international demands for
accountability and reconciliation while continuing to oppress the Tamil
minority and undertake nationalistic authorship of post-war space.

Dr. Rachel Seoighe, Department of Criminology and Sociology, Middlesex University, United Kingdom.

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