Class, patriarchy and ethnicity on Sri Lankan plantations: two centuries of power and protest

Jayawardena, Kumari

Class, patriarchy and ethnicity on Sri Lankan plantations: two centuries of power and protest - New Delhi Orient Blackswan 2015 - xi, 348 p. - Critical thinking in south Asian history .

Class, Patriarchy and Ethnicity on Sri Lankan Plantations takes as its central theme the plantations of Sri Lanka, from their inception in the early nineteenth century to almost the present day in the twenty-first. Drawing on a wealth of archival material, it offers a detailed and compelling empirical narrative of the lives and struggles of plantation workers, who have constituted, for much of modern Sri Lankan history, the single largest organised workforce in the country. In doing so, it explores the complex links between power and class, gender and ethnic hierarchies both on the plantations and outside and crucially situates the labour movement on the plantations within the wider political and social economy of Sri Lanka.

The current volume begins by tracing the origins of the plantations in then Ceylon, the acquisition of Indian Tamil workers and the labour practices during the colonial period. This in turn contextualises the subsequent discussion on rising labour and political consciousness among plantation workers and their struggles for labour and democratic rights, which the authors track through the post-Independence period and into the twenty-first century. Particular attention is paid to the role of political parties, trade unions and other pressure groups in supporting or opposing these rights, within a background of class, ethnic, linguistic and nationalist consciousness and chauvinism. The book provides an astute analysis of the strategic alliances and political manoeuvres made by the various actors in this struggle.

This volume offers readers a truly integrated history of the labour movement on Sri Lankan plantations. It balances an empirically rich narrative with a nuanced analysis of the class, ethnic, linguistic and political consciousness that has informed and opposed the struggles of plantation labour on the island.


Tamil (Indic people) - Employment
Critical thinking in south Asian history
Tea plantation workers - Labor unions
Sri Lanka

331.125 3372095493 / J2C5

Powered by Koha