Spatialising Politics: Culture and Geography in Postcolonial Sri Lanka brings together essays on the theme of spatial politics of Sri Lanka. Space is an important factor in the ongoing ethnic conflict fuelling Sri Lanka's continuing civil war. Claims and contestations over the integrity of island space and the control of northern and eastern territories are central to the violently contested dispute. The editors view space from a different perspective. They argue that space is important through a number of registers less frequently invoked in dominant approaches to understanding postcolonial Sri Lankan nationhood, identity and difference. The book examines and historicizes the role of spatialities often occluded within the debates on Sri Lankan politics such as, cities and built-space, diasporic productions and imaginations, commodity cultures and their concordant networks, knowledge spaces and ‘foreign’ intervention, landscape and sacred space, as well as geographical knowledge.
Situated at the intersection of human geography and postcolonial studies, the book signals the ways that postcolonialism and geography are intimately linked and how their intersections evoke the social, spatial and political effects of enduring colonial discourse and representation. In developing its argument, Spatialising Politics also gestures towards alternative spatial imaginations, possibilities and representations, at a time when spaces for alternative discourses on Sri Lankan politics are fast shrinking.
Introduction: Spatial Politics and Postcolonial Sri Lanka
This book brings together a collection of essays that take as their theme the spatial politics of Sri Lanka. Most observers will be aware of the importance of space in the ongoing ethnic conflict that has fuelled civil war in the country. Claims and contestations over the integrity of island space, the legitimacy of the spatiality of the nation-state, and of ‘homeland’ and territory are at the centre of a dense cluster of disputes that swirl around the referent ‘Sri Lanka’. The waves of war from 1983 up to the present, and the resulting unacceptable loss of life, have been fundamentally about the control of the northern and eastern territories ...