Push Back: Sri Lanka’s Dance with Global Governance

Push Backby Judith Large, Zed Books, 2016

Paper ISBN: 9781783606542

After decades of conflict, the Sri Lankan government in 2009 proclaimed the decisive defeat of the Liberation Tamil Tigers of Elam. Since then, the state has proved resistant to attempts by the UN and other international bodies to promote postwar reconciliation. In this incisive new work, Judith Large investigates the ways in which the Sri Lankan government has been able to subvert international diplomatic efforts, and she explores the wider context of rising Sinhalese nationalism, the attendant growth of discrimination against Tamils, and efforts by both the Tamil diaspora and groups within Sri Lanka to lobby the international community.

The implications of Large’s work also extend far beyond Sri Lanka to the larger conversation about the integral role the international community plays in negotiating an end to conflicts and supervising the rebuilding of post-conflict societies. Push Back will be vital reading not only for those interested in Sri Lanka, but for those interested in the wider implications of the conflict for human rights, peacemaking, and geopolitics.

Introduction: reflections on ‘optics’- Sri Lanka and dilemmas in the study of violence and global governance

1 War’s end and competing models for recovery
2 Executive presidency and the unitary state
3 Non-interference Sri Lankan style
4 The outsiders
5 Majoritarianism or divide and rule
6 Home-grown solution and the quest for accountability
7 Small state in a large system

Review by Matthew Godwin, May 10, 2018

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