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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.
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].
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".
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.
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.
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.
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