Sunil Bastian

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.

Results of LG Election in February 2018 (2018)

A preliminary analysis of Local Government Elections held in February 2018. Analysis of election results point towards a new configuration of political party system of Sri Lanka. The impact is felt within the party system that gets support from the Sinhala majority.

Sri Lanka Ideological battles (2018)

One of the key features of post 1977 political economy of Sri Lanka was development of a political consensus among political elite on economic policies as well as how to deal with the war. The main turning point was PA government after coming to power in 1994 shifting the ideology of centre-left parties accept neoliberal direction in capitalist transition and direct negotiations with LTTE supported by international mediation. After coming into power of Rajapakse regime this consensus changed both in relations policies of capitalist transition and how to deal with the war. With regime change in 2015 there is another shift. These ideological battles are bound to characterise Sri Lanka's capitalist transition and state formation process.

Covid-19 and Sri Lanka

Covid-19 and behaviour of Sri Lankan state

Recent Elections

Comment on the recent elections in Sri Lanka

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.

Sustaining a state in conflict: Politics of foreign aid in Sri Lanka, Colombo:ICES, (2018) Sustaining a state in conflict: Politics of foreign aid in Sri Lanka, Colombo:ICES, (2018)
This study focuses on politics of foreign aid to Sri Lanka from developed countries of the West, Japan and multilateral agencies during the period 1977 to end of the armed conflict in 2009. This period is characterised by economic policies that emphasised liberal economic policies and an armed conflict resulting from the Tamil demand for a separate state. The study looks at politics of foreign aid in this context. Foreign aid played a dual role. It helped to sustain a state engaged in an armed conflict, while at the same time trying to promote a negotiated settlement. Therefore it was neither a do-gooder that liberals tend to believe nor a 'foreign devil that Sinhala nationalists like to see.

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.


(2003) The Politics of Electoral Reform - Proportional Representation of Sri Lanka.

(1997) The “New” Consensus in Development Assistence, Good Governance and Civil Society Politics.

(2009) Politics of Land Reform and Land settlement in Sri Lanka.

Changing political visions (2019)


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