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Living with violence II: Rural livelihoods and the struggle for territory in post-war Sri Lanka

Applicant Korf Benedikt
Number 149183
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Geographisches Institut Universität Zürich
Institution of higher education University of Zurich - ZH
Main discipline Social geography and ecology
Start/End 01.11.2013 - 30.09.2018
Approved amount 342'521.00
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Keywords (6)

rural livelihoods; re-settlement; political geography; Sri Lanka; case study research; territorialization

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Im Mai 2009 kam der blutige Bürgerkrieg mit der totalen Vernichtung der Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) zu einem Ende. In diesem Konflikt ging es, wie in vielen Bürgerkriegen, um einen Kampf über die Kontrolle und Herrschaft von Land und den damit verbundenen Ressourcen. Dieser Konflikt hatte sich vor allem an Siedlungsprogrammen entzündet, die singhalesische Siedler in den mehrheitlich von Tamilen und Muslimen bewohnten Nordosten der Insel ansiedelte. D
Lay summary

In diesem Forschungsvorhaben werden die „Geographien der Gewalt“ untersucht, die politischen und oft gewaltsamen Auseinandersetzungen um Landressourcen in Sri Lanka eingeschrieben sind. Das Projekt zeichnet erstens die historische „Genealogie“ (Entstehungsgeschichte) von Siedlungsprogrammen im Nordosten Sri Lankas nach, insbesondere wie diese zum Gegenstand sozialer und politischer Konflikte wurden. Zweitens untersucht das Projekt die soziale und politische Situation in diesen Siedlungsprogrammen, wie sie sich nach dem Ende des Bürgerkrieges zeigt. Dazu werden die Alltagspraktiken des Überlebens in diesen Siedlungen sowohl aus singhalesischer, als auch aus tamilischer und muslimischer Perspektive nachverfolgt. Drittens werden diese Alltagspraktiken im Kontext der Politischen Ökonomie des Nordostens nach dem Ende des Krieges eingeordnet. Fokus bleibt dabei die Auseinandersetzung um Zugang zu und Nutzung von Landressourcen. Empirische Feldforschung wird insbesondere in und um ein besonders umstrittenes und militarisiertes Siedlungsprogramm (Weli Oya) am Übergang von Nord- zur Ostprovinz durchgeführt und dabei in singhalesischen, tamilischen und muslimischen Siedlungen Interviews, Beobachtungen und Kartierungen vornehmen.

 

Das Projekt erarbeitet damit eine Fallstudie zur Politischen Geographie von Bürgerkriegsgesellschaften und seiner vielschichtigen "Geographien der Gewalt".Gleichzeitig liefert das Projekt wichtige empirische Erkenntnisse zu Landkonflikten im bürgerkriegsversehrten Nordosten Sri Lankas, die in die Planung von Entwicklungsvorhaben internationaler Hilfsorganisationen einfliessen kann.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 07.10.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
The problem of peace and the meaning of ‘post-war’
Klem Bart (2018), The problem of peace and the meaning of ‘post-war’, in Conflict, Security & Development, 18(3), 233-255.
Public Authority Under Sovereign Encroachment: Leadership in two villages during Sri Lanka's war
KLEM BART, MAUNAGURU SIDHARTHAN (2018), Public Authority Under Sovereign Encroachment: Leadership in two villages during Sri Lanka's war, in Modern Asian Studies, 52(03), 784-814.
Geographies of Statehood
KorfBenedikt, RaeymaekersTimothy, SchetterConrad, WattsMichael (2018), Geographies of Statehood, in Börzel Tanja, Draude Anke, Risse Thomas (ed.), Oxford University Press, Pxfprd, 167-187.
Mediating the margins: the role of brokers and the Eastern Provincial Council in Sri Lanka’s post-war transition
Goodhand Jonathan, Klem Bart, Walton Oliver (2017), Mediating the margins: the role of brokers and the Eastern Provincial Council in Sri Lanka’s post-war transition, in Third World Thematics: A TWQ Journal, 1(6), 817-836.
Insurgent Rule as Sovereign Mimicry and Mutation: Governance, Kingship, and Violence in Civil Wars
Klem Bart, Maunaguru Sidharthan (2017), Insurgent Rule as Sovereign Mimicry and Mutation: Governance, Kingship, and Violence in Civil Wars, in Comparative Studies in Society and History, 59(03), 629-656.
War
KorfBenedikt (2016), War, in Kobayashi Audrey, Marston Richard, Weidong Liu, Goodchild Michael, Richardson Douglas, Castree Noel (ed.), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Oxford, UK, wbieg0074.
Making Territory: War, Post-war and the Entangled Scales of Contested Forest Governance in Mid-Western NepalContested Forest Governance in Mid-Western Nepal
Byrne Sarah, Nightingale Andrea J., Korf Benedikt (2016), Making Territory: War, Post-war and the Entangled Scales of Contested Forest Governance in Mid-Western NepalContested Forest Governance in Mid-Western Nepal, in Development and Change, 47(6), 1269-1293.
Constructing legitimacy in post-war transition: The return of ‘normal’ politics in Nepal and Sri Lanka?
Byrne Sarah, Klem Bart (2015), Constructing legitimacy in post-war transition: The return of ‘normal’ politics in Nepal and Sri Lanka?, in Geoforum, 66, 224-233.
Einleitung: Geographien der Gewalt
KorfBenedikt, SchetterConrad (2015), Einleitung: Geographien der Gewalt, in Schetter Conrad, Korf Benedikt (ed.), Borntraeger, Stuttgart, 9-26.
Geographien der Gewalt: Kriege, Konflikte und die Ordnung des Raumes im 21. Jahrhundert
Korf Benedikt, Schetter Conrad (ed.) (2015), Geographien der Gewalt: Kriege, Konflikte und die Ordnung des Raumes im 21. Jahrhundert, Borntraeger, Stuttgart.
Zur Politischen Ökologie der Gewalt
KorfBenedikt (2015), Zur Politischen Ökologie der Gewalt, in Schetter Conrad, Korf Benedikt (ed.), Borntraeger, Stuttgart, 72-92.
Marginal Placeholders: Peasants, paddy and ethnic space in Sri Lanka's post-war frontier
KlemBart, KelegamaThiruni, Marginal Placeholders: Peasants, paddy and ethnic space in Sri Lanka's post-war frontier, in Journal of Peasant Studies.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
University of Peradeniya Sri Lanka (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
University of Gothenburg Sweden (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
National Peace Council Sri Lanka (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Sri Lanka Roundtable 2018: Sri Lanka - moving forward Talk given at a conference Reconstituting Tamil Space: The politics of return and purification in Sampur 06.09.2018 Zürich, Switzerland Klem Bart;
Sri Lanka Roundtable 2018: Sri Lanka: Moving Forward? Talk given at a conference Geographies of Categorization: Reconstructing Veddhaness and Territory in Post-War Eastern Sri Lanka 06.09.2018 Zürich, Switzerland Kern Alice;
Swedish Conference on Development: Rethinking Development Talk given at a conference Contesting Peace: Reflections on conflict and violence in Sri Lanka's post-war transition 22.08.2018 Gothenburg, Sweden Klem Bart;
Universität Leipzig, Centre for Area Studies: Colloquium of SFB 1199 "Processes of Spatialization under the Global Condition" Individual talk The painful birth of
territory in the margins 
of the state:

Towards a theory of frontier 20.06.2018 Leipzig, Germany Korf Benedikt;
Graduate Conference: Political Violence - Causes, Character and Consequences Talk given at a conference Violent Politics of Categorization: Reconstructing Identity and Territory in Post-War Sri Lanka 30.05.2018 Oxford, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Kern Alice;
Südasien Institut, Universität Heidelberg: Seminar Individual talk Territorial Anxieties: The impossibility of boundary demarcation in Sri Lanka 04.12.2017 Heidelberg, Germany Korf Benedikt;
University of Melbourne - Cluster Workshop Talk given at a conference Marginal Placeholders: Peasant ideology and ethnic rivalry in Sri Lanka's post-war frontier 30.10.2017 Melbourne, Australia Klem Bart;
Conference "Imaginations of the 'Rural' in Sri Lanka" Talk given at a conference „KPC“ or the impossibility 
of boundary demarcation 14.07.2017 Colombo, Sri Lanka Korf Benedikt;
Wittheit zu Bremen: Geographische Gesellschaft Bremen Individual talk Geographien der Gewalt – Zur politischen Ökologie von Gewaltkomflikten in Sri Lanka und Äthiopien 13.12.2016 Bremen, Germany Korf Benedikt;
5th Conference of the Asian Borderlands Research Network Talk given at a conference Marginal Placeholders: Peasant ideology and ethnic rivalry in Sri Lanka's post-war frontier 12.12.2016 Kathmandu, Nepal Klem Bart;
Summer School "Theoretical Perspectives in Geography" Talk given at a conference The Violent Frontier, or: Carl Schmitt at the Edge of the World 24.10.2016 Trondheim, Norway Korf Benedikt;
Workshop: Exploring the Frontiers of Political Ecology Talk given at a conference The Violent Frontier 11.10.2016 Lausanne, Switzerland Korf Benedikt;
SOAS Workshop "Frontiers and Borderlands" Talk given at a conference The Geography of Rule: Border, Frontier, Margins 27.06.2016 London, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Klem Bart; Korf Benedikt;
Sri Lanka Roundtable 2016 Talk given at a conference How many Veddhas must a DS office find? Representing, performing and politically categorizing Coast Veddhaness in eastern Sri Lanka 27.05.2016 Edinburgh, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Kern Alice;
Oxford Handbook Workshop: Governance and Limited Statehood Talk given at a conference The Spatial Turn and Areas of Limited Statehood 22.04.2016 Berlin, Germany Korf Benedikt;
SOAS-UoM Workshop "Borderlands" Talk given at a conference University of Zurich research project on current frontier dynamics in Sri Lanka" 16.09.2015 Melbourne, Australia Klem Bart;
Summer School "Governance at the Edge of the State II" Talk given at a conference The State of Nature (On the political theology of or at the frontier) 08.09.2015 Kopenhagen, Denmark Korf Benedikt;
University of Colombo: SPARC Dialogue Forum Individual talk The margin of the margin; the frontier within the frontier: the Case of Coast Veddhas in Eastern Sri Lanka 15.08.2015 Colombo, Sri Lanka Kern Alice;
University of Colombo, Faculty of Arts Seminar Individual talk Conspiracies and Contingencies: Struggles over political geography in eastern Sri Lanka 06.06.2015 Colombo, Sri Lanka Klem Bart;
Australasian Aid Conference Talk given at a conference Anxious Integration: Development in Sri Lanka's post-war frontier 12.01.2015 Canberra, Australia Klem Bart;
Sri Lanka Roundtable 2014 Talk given at a conference Life on the Fringe: Margina People, Central Boundarires 11.12.2014 Amsterdam, Netherlands Klem Bart;
SOAS Workshop "States, Frontiers, and Conflict" Talk given at a conference State, Sovereignty, Legal Pluralism, Violence: Some conceptual throughts and inputs 24.11.2014 London, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Klem Bart;
GAE 2014: Politische Geographien von Entwicklung, Risiko und Versicherheitlichung Talk given at a conference The Irony of Development 30.09.2014 Bonn, Germany Korf Benedikt;
Summer School "Governance at the Edge of the State I" Talk given at a conference Carl Schmitt at the Edge of the World: Towards a theory of frontier 15.09.2014 Ghent, Belgium Korf Benedikt;
Summer School: Governance at the Edge of the State I: Poster The last frontier: Rural Livelihoods and Indigeneous Identity in Eastern Sri Lanka 15.09.2014 Ghent, Belgium Kern Alice;
RGS-IBG Annual Conference 2014 Talk given at a conference Carl Schmitt at the Edge of the State: Towards a theory of frontier 26.08.2014 London, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Korf Benedikt;
RGS-IBG Annual Conference 2014 Talk given at a conference Evading the teleological trap: Conceptualising change and continuity in what are not “war-to-peace transitions” 26.08.2014 London, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Klem Bart;
World International Studies Conference (WISC) Talk given at a conference Post-War Transition as Territorialization and Circulation: The case of Trincomalee, Sri Lanka 06.08.2014 Frankfurt am Main, Germany Kern Alice;
European Conference of South Asian Studies (ECSAS) Talk given at a conference Constructing Legitimacy in Post-War Transition: the return of 'normal' politics in Nepal and Sri Lanka 25.07.2014 Zürich, Switzerland Klem Bart;
Ringvorlesung: Paradigmen der Humangeographie Individual talk Geographien der Gewalt: Ein Blick hinter den Vorhang der Konfliktforschung 24.06.2014 Bayreuth, Germany Korf Benedikt;
LSE, Department of International Development, Seminar Individual talk Violence, Politics and the Project of Development 30.04.2014 London, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Korf Benedikt;
Symposium: Entwicklungsforschung am Forum für Internationale Wissenschaft" Talk given at a conference Ordnung in und aus der Unordnung 24.01.2014 Bonn, Germany Korf Benedikt;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Sri Lanka Roundtable 2018: Panel "Spatial Politics in the Margins of the Sri Lankan State" 06.09.2018 Zürich, Switzerland
Summer School "Governance at the Edge of the State: The Spaces of Violent Rule" 12.09.2016 Zürich, Switzerland
AFK Jahrestagung 2016: Panel "Geographien der Gewalt: Zur Ordnung des Raumes" 03.03.2016 Bonn, Germany
Workshop: "Public Authority and De Facto Sovereignty in South Asia" 11.06.2015 Ghent, Belgium
RGS-IBG Annual Conference; Panel: The Geography of War and Peace 26.08.2014 London, Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Video/Film Sri Lanka (Transactions.Manifesta11) German-speaking Switzerland International 2016
Media relations: print media, online media Zwischen Jagen und, Steine klopfen und Skypen UZH News German-speaking Switzerland 2016

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
154524 Just Settlements: Spaces of Transformation in Post-War Sri Lanka 01.05.2014 International short research visits
140728 Brokering political and economic transitions in South Asia’s periphery 01.07.2012 Project funding (Div. I-III)
124459 Living with violence: rural livelihoods in Mid-Western Nepal during and after the People's War 01.06.2009 Project funding (Div. I-III)
123181 Negotiating rural development in South Asia's periphery 01.02.2009 ProDoc

Abstract

The proposed research is an extension of research previously conducted in Nepal on the differentiated impacts of various forms of violence, coercion and control on rural livelihoods in Mid-Western Nepal during and after the People’s War. In the second phase of this research (the proposed project), we shift our attention to a second research site, Sri Lanka’s Northeast, where we seek to examine how settlement schemes have produced different forms of violence, and contested claims over space before, during and after the civil war, that started in 1983 and ended in 2009 with the total annihilation of one of the conflict parties, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). We hereby build on the insights from our previous research in Nepal that processes of territorialization - negotiations over political claims to space and natural resources - are some of the most contentious issues over which (ethnic) conflict brakes out, but also over which struggles continue even after wars have ended. The aim of this research is to gain a better understanding of the geographies of violence that underpin processes of contentious territorialization. More specifically, with a view to our Sri Lanka case study, we seek to a) understand the historical genealogy of the “colonization” schemes, including: how political contestation emerged over these sites, how different political and military actors utilized settlers as political tools in this territorialization strategy, and b) explore the current situation in these contentious settlement sites after the ending of the civil war - looking at both Sinhalese as well as Tamil and Muslim perspectives, their everyday practices, livelihood strategies, and c) to link these practices and strategies to the political space within which these re-settlements take place. Field work will be conducted in a specific colonization site, Wel Oya, which has been highly contested as it was a militarized settlement scheme, designed to bring Sinhalese farmers into the predominantly Tamil and Muslim inhabited Northeast as a kind of buffer to the predominantly Sinhalese inhabited central and southern parts of the island. In the field work, we will investigate the struggles over claims to land from both, a Sinhalese and Tamil and Muslim perspective, conducting field work in Sinhalese as well as Tamil and Muslim inhabited sites. The research makes the following contributions: On an empirical level, it will provide an in-depth case study of the violent territorialization process in Sri Lanka’s Northeast. On a generic level, through a comparison of the Sri Lanka and the Nepal case, conducted in the first phase, the research will allow a comparative assessment of territorialization dynamics in two post-war transition phases in South Asia, thereby contributing to a typology of post-war territorialization processes. On a policy level, this research will provide important knowledge to review present land use and resettlement policies and programmes in the Northeast of Sri Lanka.
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