Social Analysis
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Social Analysis

Editor: Martin Holbraad, University College London

Volume 60 / 2016, 4 issues per volume (spring, summer, autumn, winter)

Subjects: Anthropology, Politics, International Relations

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Sri Lankan Civil Society and its Fanatics

Rohan Bastin


The current moment, seen by some as an interregnum between societies of discipline and control, is marked by intense forms of religious fanaticism and iconoclasm that are striving to create new forms of the state. This is evident in the militancy and political engagement of Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka, who promote war against Tamil separatists as well as violent resistance to the proselytization identified with global civil society agencies that, due to the war and the 2004 tsunami disaster, have been active in the country. The article looks at this rising Buddhist militancy, which is associated with a political party that is linked to the more famous party known as the JVP. It argues that instead of resisting the formation of the new global civil society, the iconoclasm of this Buddhist political formation is facilitating its establishment.

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