Sunil Bastian

Towards a debate on state formation in Sri Lanka (2021)

This article argues that analysing the Sri Lankan state as a product of history is essential to understand the current situation. This means state is not treated as a finished, self contained entity. State formation as an ongoing process is a better way of looking at the Sri Lankan state. These are initial thoughts on this. This analysis implies we need to have a political vision that combines social justice, pluralism and deepening democracy fas an alternative political vision..

Few thoughts to begin 2021 (2021)

Written at the beginning of 2021 this is short reflection of what Sri Lankan has become.

Current situation in Sri Lanka - Some observations (2021)

At present Sri Lankan state is facing a number of problems. This an analysis within a framework that focuses on the state. The main argument is it is difficult to understand the problems faced by the Sri Lanka unless we take into account forty years of liberalisation and thirty years of armed conflict.

State formation - key ideas (2021)

A conceptual framework to analyse the history of state formation in Sri Lanka.

Understanding current regime (2016)

When regime change took place in 2015 the liberal lobby placed lot of hope on this change. This article written at the end of the first year of regime shows its limitations. It is internally divided. Its adherence to liberal peace and neoliberalism in economic policy is unlikely to have a positive impact on Sri Lanka.

Changing political visions (2019)

The article traces ideological orientations of organisations that have come to be known as civil society. It shows how political visions of these organisations changed from a broader perspective that included democracy, pluralism and social justice to a narrower vision with the acceptance of notion of conflict and conflict resolution. The focus of the latter is only violence and not the underlying structural reasons for violence.

Beyond Liberal Peace (2019)

A critique of liberal peace ideas that have dominated international interventions in Sri Lanka. By focusing on a historical analysis of what has happened in recent past, the article shows limitations of these ideas and argue for the need to go beyond them if Sri Lanka is to achieve peace.

Sunil Bastian is a political economist. His current research interests are politics of state formation and development of capitalism in Sri Lanka. He has published widely, and is the editor of Devolution and Development in Sri Lanka (1994). He has co-edited with Nicola Bastian, Assessing Participation, A debate from South Asia (1996), and with Robin Luckham, Can Democracy be Designed? The Politics of Institutional Choice in Conflict-torn Societies (2003) published by Zed Press, London. His most recent publication is The Politics of Foreign Aid in Sri Lanka. Promoting Markets and Supporting Peace (2007).  He has been a Senior Research Fellow at the International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Colombo and chairperson of the Centre for Poverty Analysis. He has more than two decades of consultancy experience with a range of donor agencies.


Assessing participation - A debate from south asia Assessing participation - A debate from south asia
(1997) Co-editor, Assessing Participation: A Debate from South Asia. New Delhi: ITDG/Konark Publishers.

Can democracy be designed? Can democracy be designed?
(2003) Co-editor, Can Democracy be Designed? London: Zed Books.

The politics of foreign Aid in Sri Lanka The politics of foreign Aid in Sri Lanka
(2007) Politics of foreign aid in Sri Lanka, Promoting markets and supporting peace. Colombo: International Centre for Ethnic Studies.

Devolution and Development in Sri Lanka Devolution and Development in Sri Lanka
(1994) Editor, Devolution and Development. New Delhi: Konark Publishers.


Sri Lanka Ideological battles (2018)

Beyond Liberal Peace (2019)

Covid-19 and Sri Lanka

(2009) Politics of Social Exclusion, State Reform and Security in Sri Lanka.


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