This panel explores the politics of 'transition' in Nepal and Sri Lanka. It focuses on practices of consensus and contestation, of hegemony and subversion, vis-à-vis transition as a historical moment, and how they are employed in negotiating post-war order, authority and legitimacy.
Following years of violent conflict, the present political context in Nepal and Sri Lanka has been labeled 'transitional'. Though there are a number of clear differences between the experiences of war and the way it ended in Nepal and Sri Lanka, there are similar themes in the way new order is produced and boundaries are re-negotiated. In both contexts, fundamental political issues are suppressed, neutralised or postponed as the new political arrangement is produced. This panel brings together fieldwork-based research to explore hegemonic and subversive practices of consensus and contestation, and how individual as well as collective actors on different levels craft authority and legitimacy in the transitional context. While most papers are expected to focus on either of the two contexts, the panel aims to develop a comparative perspective and to inform broader conceptual debates on post-war politics, order and antagonism. We will engage with questions of regime consolidation, (purported) consensus-seeking, and national unity, as well as with society-level questions of everyday politics, to do with group boundaries, attempts to produce 'apolitical' religious spaces and forms of authority, and performative registers of dissent and harmony, protest and loyalty.