Widows in Jaffna: negotiating market access in a post-war community
AffiliationSchool of Geography
Document TypeHonours thesis
Access StatusOnly available to University of Melbourne staff and students, login required
This thesis examines the ways in which widows in post-war Jaffna negotiate market access in light of wartime changes to their subjectivities and social relations. Accordingly, this thesis aims to address the gap in Sri Lankan post-war and development literature regarding the influence of wartime changes to structural features on individuals' current capabilities. A qualitative approach to data collection was used, consisting of semi-structured interviews to collect the life narratives of 20 widows and 3 local residents. In order to better interrogate the impacts of wartime changes in widows' day-to-day lives, follow-up interviews were conducted with a smaller group of 8 participants. Building on the principles of Giddens' (1984) Theory of Structuration, the findings of this thesis demonstrated the relationship between Jaffna's history as a war-affected district, and its post-war structural features that regulate widows' access to markets. The findings illustrate the influence of wartime changes to widows' positions within their households and community on their current marketing practices, and sheds light on the internalization and reproduction of these changes by widows and local youth. This thesis concludes by showing how understandings of widows' post-war realities accessing markets are shaped by the legacy of wartime changes to their individual subjectivities and larger structural constraints.
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