This work presents a systematic historical and analytical understanding of Sri Lanka's social development. Instead of merely focusing on economic yardsticks, it studies the country's development in the conceptual framework of social policy, with an emphasis on the way current institutions reflect the impact of previous political conflicts and struggles.

The book critiques the country's social policy from the perspectives of the Western theories of ‘welfare state’ and development studies. It also provides valuable insights into the issues of modernization and democratization in colonial settings by analyzing the distinctive nature of the Sri Lankan colonial experience. The book also looks at the future prospects of development in Sri Lanka in view of the unfolding of the complex social and political milieu following the end of the twenty-five-year-old civil war in the country.

This book will be a seminal reference resource for students and researchers working in the fields of development studies, colonial studies, South Asian studies, sociology, history, and political science.



Sri Lanka, or Ceylon until 1972, which gained independence from British colonial rule in 1948, has an enviable record of social development and is regarded in the literature as an outlier. When development experience is assessed on measures of development, which look beyond economic criteria such as per capita Gross National Product (GNP), Sri Lanka clearly stands out as a middle-to-low-income country which has not sacrificed ensuring minimum standards of welfare and social well-being for economic growth per se (Isenman 1980; Sen 1988a; and World Bank 1978). What is distinctive of the Sri Lankan development experience over the last five decades is that, for a non-industrialised developing country, relatively low on per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP), it still rates relatively high on measures ...

  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles