• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

“Neloufer de Mel's Militarizing Sri Lanka radically advances our understanding of the cultural consequences of violence. This tour de force should be read by all who want to understand the subtle effects of political violence on all aspects of culture, not only in Sri Lanka but elsewhere too.”

—Elisabeth Jean Wood, Professor of Political Science, Yale University

Militarizing Sri Lanka is a study of the militarization that has buttressed the war between the Sri Lankan state and the LTTE for over two decades. It highlights militarization as a process through which the ideology of militarism is shaped and shared in a manner that makes militant solutions to conflict a part of institutional structures and ways of thought. It foregrounds militarization as activity and agency, capable of adaptation and transforming society in significant ways; and as a deeply gendered, contingent and shifting process. It also analyzes both the construction and resistance to militarization and militarism, but in a manner that draws attention to their relationality rather than as self-evidently oppositional categories.

Through case studies of military advertising, disabled soldiers, children in the conflict zones, the LTTE femail suicide bomber, censorship, the archive and feminist work, Militarizing Sri Lanka also foregrounds the crucial role of popular culture, memory and narrative in how attitudes to militarism, war and peace are mediated.

Key Features

Draws on cultural, feminist, communication, psychosocial, anthropological, film, theatre, and political economy studies; Highlights how the ideology of militarism is shaped and shared in a manner that makes militant solutions to conflict a part of institutional structures and ways of thought; Shows how militarization works through the popular media, advertising, theatre, film, literature, and memorialization; Uses case studies of military advertising, disabled soldiers, children in the conflict zones, the LTTE female suicide bomber, censorship, and archiving; Illustrates how militarization represents war and martial virtue as valour, heroism and masculine pride, and categorizes their opposites as cowardice, treason, and feminization

Intended Audience: This book is a valuable resource for social and political scientists and activists, and all those wanting an insight into militarization in the Sri Lankan context from the late 1980s to 2006.

Constituting Martial Virtue: The Processes of Militarization in Sri Lanka
Constituting martial virtue: The processes of militarization in Sri Lanka

Discussing Shakespeare's Coriolanus, a play that contains a forceful depiction of the martial ideal, Jonathan Dollimore makes the point that Coriolanus’ virtue in being a brave and successful warrior is valued only as long as it accommodates itself to the goals of the Roman state. Then the hero's good reputation and superiority are seen to stem from his innate, natural virtue. When Coriolanus works against the state, however, ‘there emerges a contradiction which reveals both reputation and state to be prior to and in some state constitutive of virtus’ (Dollimore 1989: 218). In other words, Coriolanus’ martial virtue is not an inherent category that he naturally ...

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