Agency, apathy and alienation
DOI link for Agency, apathy and alienation
Agency, apathy and alienation book
On December 31, 1999 millions of people throughout the world celebrated the turn of the millennium and feared the harbinger of potential Y2K doom. In Sri Lanka, the date also marked the expiration of the collective agreement between the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, which represented the twenty-two major tea estate companies, and the fifteen largest estate trade unions. Unlike the female Malay workers Aihwa Ong discusses, Sri Lankan tea estate workers are able to form unions, providing them with a way to channel and organize protests. The chapter discusses theories of agency and solidarity to argue that the apathy and alienation of Up-country Tamils does not indicate a lack of agency, more a refusal to exercise it. It examines Up-country Tamil agency and solidarity through several cases, moving forward in time and from a macro-level focus on plantation management and national politics to micro-level union organizing and actions on the estates.