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The Transformation of Sri Lankan Society, 1948-1999: The Fragmentation of Centralism

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With independence in 1948, successive Sri Lankan governments embarked on a far-reaching extension of state control into many sectors of society. The distinction between state and society was being progressively obliterated. By the decade, 1970-80, the budgetary strain was proving too much and the legitimacy of the expanded government role was being challenged. The relaxation of the control of the economy after 1977, and the multiplication of civil organizations outside of the government's control opened opportunities for individuals, communities and interest groups to gain in status and power independently of the government. But the growth of a modern civil society is warped and threatened by the continuation of warfare in the North and East.

Affiliations: 1: Centre for India and South Asia Research, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., V6T 1Z2, Canada.

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