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War, Disaster and Outmigration: Three Decades of Moving Beyond Poverty in Sri Lanka
Published by Ashgate Publishing Limited
Just over thirty years ago, in 1977, the Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka first opened its largely nationalized, socialist economy to the world. Driven by privatization, foreign direct investments and the development of an export-based economy, the country has since experienced significant economic growth. Yet, this growth has been geographically uneven, and has been repeatedly divided and interrupted by the ongoing civil war between Singhalese and Tamil populations. Furthermore, large natural disasters such as droughts, floods and the December 2004 tsunami have selectively slowed down economic progress. This book examines the development of the Sri Lankan overseas migration economy over this period, placing it in the context of the country's economic, social and political development. In particular, it addresses the impact that natural disasters, as well as the ongoing civil war, have had on the regional origins, the gender ratio, the ethnic background and the economic status of migrants who leave the country for contract-based labour and return home within a few years. Global migration is a defining feature of today's political economy. Moving Beyond Poverty uses this study of Sri Lanka's overseas employment program as a means of engaging various vitally important thematic and topical issues. Sri Lanka is an ideal location to examine the intersections of international labour migration, environmental conditions, and violent ethnic and religious conflict. In examining the connections between governmental-sponsored overseas employment programs and extreme environmental and political conditions (e.g., tsunamis, armed conflict), this book argues that poverty is not the sole, or principal, factor to induce migration. Consequently, while providing an in-depth study of Sri Lanka, it also contributes to the larger debates of population, politics and the environment.
Dr. Olaf Kuhlke is Associate Professor and Chairin the Department of Geography, University of Minnesota - Duluth, USA and Dr. James A. Tyner is Professor of Geography at Kent State University, USA
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