chapter  19
13 Pages

Political Culture and Heritage

WithRobert C. Oberst, Yogendra K. Malik, Charles H. Kennedy, Ashok Kapur, Mahendra Lawoti, Syedur Rahman, Ahrar Ahmad

This chapter describes some of the basic features of the country, its historical heritage, and the social structure of its society. Both the geographic diversity of the island and its colonial history has contributed to the development of subcultures within the two major ethnic groups, the Sinhalese and the Tamils. The social and economic environment in which a political system operates can have a great impact on how well the government performs and on how politically stable it is. In Sri Lanka several features of the socioeconomic environment have influenced the conduct of government and politics. Amid this environment of geographic diversity and tropical climate, a strong cultural heritage developed. Despite its small size, the island of Sri Lanka is marked by a relatively wide diversity of ethnic groups. In Sri Lanka, unlike in India, the various caste groups are generally concentrated geographically such that an overwhelming majority of the people in any area are members of the same caste.