This article points to the significant military turn that has taken place in Sri Lanka following the armed conflict between the Sri Lanka government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). It is particularly concerned with the impacts on gender relations and how the lines between women’s insecurity and militarised masculinity have been redrawn and reinforced.
It argues that these gender relations can be seen in sharp relief in the country’s Free Trade Zones, where young rural women in the garment industry and young rural men who join the military meet, and where features of transnational labour, violence against women, law and the state combine to reinforce globalisation and militarisation as the twin rationalities upon which national security regimes and the global order rest today. The article discusses resistances to this paradigm, and assesses their successes and failures in the context of how security is currently marketed as a public good and militarism as a path to the ‘good life’. It concludes by pointing to how these constructions have elicited consent on the part of a significant segment of Sri Lankan society to the militarisation of its society as a whole.
Article first published March 2009, IDSB40.2.