Accepted paper:

Veterans and the transition from military to civilian life in Sri Lanka


Dhana Hughes (Durham University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper considers how Sri Lankan veterans give meaning to, and reflect on their experiences of the transition from military to civilian life in the aftermath of the gruelling war between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers.

Paper long abstract:

The 30 year long conflict between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ended violently in 2009. This was an exceptionally bitter conflict, which drew many young men into a rapidly burgeoning state military force, where soldiers faced extraordinarily long deployments on the frontline (often ranging from 10-15 years). However, little is known about how Sri Lankan veterans go about recreating civilian life in the aftermath of war and military service. Based on fieldwork conducted with Sri Lankan veterans, this paper will consider how they give meaning to, and experience their transition from military to civilian life. In doing so, it will consider the complex interactions between military enculturation, combat experience, and civilian sociality.

panel P16
Veterans of liberation wars and counter-insurgencies: negotiating loss, integration, memory and trauma