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.

Reclaiming Social Democracy: Charting a ‘Third Way’ for Sri Lanka

Reclaiming social democracy: Charting a ‘third way’ for Sri Lanka

Third Way insists that welfare stands in need of radical reform but [does not wish] to reduce it to a safety net.

—Anthony Giddens (1999)


One of the distinctive features of Sri Lanka's achievement of independence in 1948 as previously noted (see Chapter 5) has been its overall commitment to liberal democratic institutions such as the rule of law, electoral politics, liberal political institutions and a high degree of political participation along with a dynamic civil society. But more importantly, Sri Lanka had, for a long time, the unique status among developing countries as a social democracy pursuing welfare state ideals of equality and justice, a characteristic feature ...

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