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Taking Social Development Seriously

Taking Social Development Seriously
The Experience of Sri Lanka

First Edition

August 2010 | 236 pages | SAGE India
This work presents a systematic historical and analytical understanding of Sri Lanka's social development. Instead of merely focussing 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 analysing 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.

Foreword James Midgley
Changing Ideas of Social Policy

Rethinking Social Development

Marshall and Citizenship Theorising

The Formative Phase of Social Development in Sri Lanka

Welfarism and Democratisation in the Late Colonial State (1931-1948)

Consolidation of the Welfare State

Retreat from the Welfare State

Reclaiming Social Democracy: Charting a 'Third Way' for Sri Lanka

Postscript: Taking Stock after the Fall of Sri Lanka's Berlin Wall

Afterword by Nimal Sanderatne

This is a scholarly book of singular importance.  It is also a powerful statement of timely significance for a deeply conflicted society that has just endured a quarter century of bloody civil war—Sri Lanka in 2010.
Professor Laksiri Jayasuriya has achieved that double success through a rare capacity to address social theory via a comparative lens, coupled with a deep appreciation of how past and present interact...Sri Lanka may have had no Nelson Mandela to bring a statesmanship of Reconciliation, but it still has the wise reflections of this deep thinking and humane scholar.

Deryck Schreuder
University of Sydney, Australia

Professor Jayasuriya offers us an intriguing excursion into the history of social policy in Sri Lanka...a revealing study in the political economy of social policy and one that emphasises the importance of the interplay of historical legacies and emerging post-colonial politics...Sri Lanka may be a "unique case" but the lessons that Professor Jayasuriya draws from its welfare history are by no means unique [only for Sri Lanka].

Roy Parker
University of Bristol, UK

Jayasuriya's study purposively draws us back to important ideas about the interaction of states and markets in achieving relatively equitable social development...the author breaks out of the dominant economistic analysis of Sri Lanka's development experience.  One of the elements of this theoretical fusion is an attention to the legacies of British colonial rule...But his is not simply a work of history, for Jayasuriya is very much focused on what he calls the "deteriorating contemporary human condition as a global malaise".

Kevin Hewison
University of North Carolina, USA

The perspective in this book is quite different to much of the previous analyses of the Sri Lankan social development experience... the book presents what is best described as an ‘insider/outsider’ view on Sri Lanka, which is a rarity.

The Book Review

This scholarly work is an important contribution to the literature of global social policy-making as social development. Professor Laksiri Jayasuriya offers an intriguing excursion into the history of social policy, social development, historical legacies and emerging post-colonial politics. Sri Lanka may be ‘a unique case’, but the lessons drawn from its welfare history are by no means unique… This study provides important ideas about the interaction of states and markets in achieving relatively equitable social development… The author has achieved double success by looking how past and present interact in the social theory through a comparative lens, which reflects his deep thinking as a humane scholar.

Asia Pacific World

This volume is the work of a mature academic and analyst. It draws on a formidable array of conceptual, policy and historical resources and in so doing makes an invaluable contribution to our understanding of an extremely important policy and social development site—once an exemplar of equitable social development, but now, as others have noted, a paradise clearly lost. The work generates understanding of the complex interplay of policy, economics and politics and its contribution is readily transferable to other contexts… The context gives weight to the value of Professor Jayasuriya’s reflective volume, not just for scholars of Sri Lankan society, but to those with an interest in the interface between public policy, economics and the real politics. The volume stands as a testimony to the value of comparative social policy.

The Island

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ISBN: 9788132104650

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