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Senaratne, S.P.F. (1970) Status, power, and resources: The study of a Sinhalese village. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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Planners and administrators in Ceylon have encountered many problems in devising schemes which are beamed at the rural sector. One of these has been an insufficient knowledge of the mechanics of village action. In more specific terms, data is needed on the values which guide economic endeavour, the type of mobility that is desired and the re-alignments of power brought about by new influences. This is the broad area with which this study is concerned. It sets out to examine these aspects in a village in the hinterland of Colombo, taking the resources available to the community as its main focus of investigation. It attempts to examine how these resources are distributed - the problem of who has access to what resources. It also examines the advantages of power and leadership which can be derived through the control of each type of resource. Finally, it attempts to identify and explain the norms and values which govern the distribution of resources. The bulk of the thesis is devoted to an examination, from this point of view, of the four main types of resources to which the village has access: land; the ritual, caste and other services needed by the community; employment and the other external resources which can be tapped; the aid made available by the government for village welfare and development. The argument in the final chapter revolves around thathwaya (status) and its importance in village life. It is my contention that the complex of resources particular to the village has generated a corresponding system of values. I suggest that thathwaya not only reveals how the resources are distributed but that it is also the embodiment of these values. It is, therefore, a mechanism through which resources are controlled.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:13

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