State of Democracy in Sri Lanka: A Preliminary Report

Jayadeva Uyangoda(1*), Pradeep Peiris(2)

(1) University of Colombo
(2) University of Colombo
(*) Corresponding Author


This paper is a preliminary report on citizens understanding and perceptions of democracy in Sri Lanka, as reflected in a survey carried out in 2004-2005. The survey was a part of a South Asian study covering Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka on the theme "State of Democracy and Human Security in South Asia." The report of the overall study has now been published as State of Democracy in South Asia: A Report (2008).

In terms of methodology, the study had four methodological 'pathways'. They are (i) case studies, (ii) dialogues, (iii) qualitative assessments, and (iv) cross-section surveys. The cross section survey carried out in each country was the principal instrument of data collection for the study. It sought to elicit broad trends of people's opinions, attitudes and behaviour in relation to democracy. The other three pathways provided qualitative assessments and dimensions that were not captured in the cross-section survey. The pathway of 'Dialogues' was chosen in order to recognise and retrieve bodies and voices of critical knowledge that are available among different social and political constituencies. Under the component 'Qualitative Assessments', scholars active in social science research were asked to 'assess' the experience of democracy in a non-partisan basis. The qualitative assessments addressed questions formulated around five key themes: (i) the promise of democracy, (ii) design of democracy, (iii) working of democracy, (iv) democracy's outcomes, and (v) democracy's futures.

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