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Learning Politics From Sivaram
The Life and Death of a Revolutionary Tamil Journalist in Sri Lanka
Mark P. Whitaker
- ISBN: 9780745323541
- Extent: 272pp
- Release Date: 20 Dec 2006
- Size: 215mm x 135mm
- Format: Hardback
- Category: Anthropology
“Very interesting and original. The concerns he raises have been central to American anthropology for twenty years.” Thomas Eriksen, Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo
“This book has been long-awaited by many scholars, and others concerned about the conflict in Sri Lanka. It could become a new exemplar of how anthropology should be done.” Margaret Trawick, Professor of Social Anthropology, Massey University, New Zealand
This is the story of the life and impact of the political activist, journalist and freedom-fighter Sivaram Dharmeratnam. Sivaram dedicated his life to helping the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. He started out as an active participant in the war against the Sri Lankan government -- in the eyes of some, a "terrorist". Yet he eventually stepped away from the ruthless violence it involved. Instead, he became a high profile journalist in the Sri Lankan press, and used his position to fearlessly critique the government -- despite repeated threats on his life, and the murder of other journalists. Finally, in 2005, Sivaram himself was assassinated.
Written over a period of twenty-five years, this vivid life history also engages with much broader issues. It offers an intimate portrait of why an educated man adopts a position of supporting violence. While his position softens, Sivaram remains critical of the liberal political principles that govern Western policy.
The book also addresses the problems of writing a life history, and explores the ways in which anthropologists can become entwined with their subjects -- showing how anthropology itself becomes a living and transformative process.
About The Author
Mark Whitaker is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at University of South Carolina, Aiken. He received his PhD in 1986 from Princeton. He has written widely on Sri Lanka, including an ethnography of a Hindu temple entitled Amiable Incoherence , published by a Dutch university press in 1999.