Political violence in the Third World: a case study of Sri Lanka
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Political violence in Sri Lanka is not a unique phenomenon. It is a prevalent tendency in many countries of the Third World. Sri Lanka, since 1971, has experienced a sharp escalation of political violence which renders it suitable as a case study of insurgency and guerrilla warfare in developing countries. The author's major thrust is a comparative review the causes, patterns, and implications of the leftwing Insurrection of 1971 and the Tamil guerrilla warfare up to the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord in June 1987. This thesis highlights the salient socio-economic and political factors, underscoring the view that ethnicity is the impetus behind the continuing turmoil in Sri Lankan society. The author's main hypotheses are that the Insurrection of 1971 as well as the subsequent Tamil guerrilla warfare were pre-planned and well-organised, and that the politically violent organisations in Sri Lanka were mainly a result of the emergence of new social forces which came about due to socio-economic and political transformations. The analysis begins with a review of the theories of political violence. Of these theories Huntington's theory of modernisation relates more closely to the origin of the political violence movement in Sri Lanka. The awakening of the earliest guerrilla group, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (J. V. P. ), in 1971 lay deeply rooted in socio-economic and political factors. The emergence of the Tamil guerrilla organisations stemmed from the long-standing competition between the Sinhala majority and the minority Tamils for limited socio-economic resources and exclusive political powers. The study shows that the socio-economic background of the leaders and members were diverse and often paradoxical, if not at odds to the groups' goals. The ethno-nationalist ideologies, strategies and tactics of the guerrilla organisations, instiled group consciousness and goaded otherwise ordinary citizens to commit political violence. The pattern of political violence in Sri Lanka was a highly emotive expression of anti-establishment and secessionist convictions on the part of the guerrillas. Finally, the study proposes politico-economic reforms rather than military options to cope with the problem of political violence in Sri Lanka.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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