Sri Lanka

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Since the end of the civil war in 2009, there has been a marked deterioration in democratic governance in Sri Lanka, with many commentators describing a shift towards soft authoritarianism. This entry explores how Sri Lanka’s democratic malaise has been shaped by its post-independence history. First, it presents a story of “institutional decay,” examining how contemporary problems of ethno-nationalism, social exclusion, and civil war can be clearly traced to the parliamentary system inherited from the British. Second, it develops
this account by exploring how patterns of social exclusion and the institutional responses that they prompted were shaped by broader processes of economic and social development. Third, it describes how successive state reform efforts have been undermined by the gradual consolidation of majority interests in the political system and as a result have failed to resolve ethnic tensions, increased state centralization and entrenched a unitary state model. This entry concludes by examining contemporary governance in Sri Lanka, focusing on three core issues: patrimonialism, militarization, and the limits of liberal civil society.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Public Administration and Public Policy (3rd ed.)
Subtitle of host publication3 volume set
EditorsM. J. Dubnick, D. A. Bearfield
Place of PublicationLondon, U. K.
ISBN (Print)9781466569096
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2015


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