Breakup of community social structures in the war-affected northern and eastern provinces in Sri Lanka
|Sri Lanka -- Civil War; Sri Lanka -- community life; Sri Lanka -- cultural relations; Sri Lanka -- Ethnic Conflict; Sri Lanka -- Ethnic Nationalism; Sri Lanka -- Tamil
|"This paper examines a significant social consequence of the 26 years of conflict in Sri Lanka, namely, the breakup of the community social structures that is visible in the Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka. In our previous research, we revealed this issue with regard to certain limited areas of the North. Immediately after the end of the war in 2009, Heath and Silva (2012) documented what they considered ‘community breakup’ in the North of Sri Lanka. In this paper, I re-examine the same issue (albeit more broadly) five years after the original study, with a more comprehensive research approach covering all of the districts in the North and East. Essentially, community breakup involves a crucial transformation in the social structure of a community, specifically with regard to statuses and roles, functioning of the social institutions, procedures, norms and values. This present study focuses on the institutions of marriage and family to illustrate the community breakup, as these two institutions can be considered pivotal to the functioning and survival of society. Through interviews and FGDs, the study uncovers extraordinary levels of extramarital sexual relations, the sexual exploitation of certain categories of women, a high prevalence of teenage pregnancies, and the abandonment of spouses. This paper is not an attempt to quantify the prevalence of these issues either in relation to other parts of the country or a specific period in history. Rather, it sheds anthropological light on a set of issues, which are seen to affect the smooth functioning of ordinary life and bring about a discussion, generating interest in possible remedial action. The study also finds a secondary set of issues intricately connected with the first: significant prevalence of household violence in families and high levels of alcohol consumption. "
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|South Asian Born-Digital NGO Reports Collection Project
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