In a Sri Lankan context of rising youth unemployment, a long ethnic war, and neoliberal economic policies on the reprivatized tea estates, this article discusses two 2004 collaborative research projects with young people that focused on their views of the future. One project, designed by a group of university students, concerned the high rate of unemployment of young adults in Sri Lanka. This was an issue of grave import to the students that was largely unmentioned in national discourses, e.g., electoral rhetoric. The other project concerned the future of young, mostly Tamil, people on tea estates in Sri Lanka. This project was organized in response to the view expressed by middle-aged decision-makers in Sri Lanka's tea industry that young people on the estates will not choose agricultural work in the future. They anticipated a labor shortage in the tea sector, but had not consulted young people directly about their future hopes and plans. Contrary to views attributed to them by others, the young tea estate residents prioritized wage equity over leaving the estates (if given the option to migrate). Where Sri Lankans, especially Tamils, choose to live, or are forced to live, is highly politicized in the current context. The armed conflict may be over, but not the ethnic conflict. Collaborative social science research with young people is vital to understanding the possibilities and challenges in Sri Lanka's future.
|Number of pages||9|
|State||Published - Apr 1 2010|
- Sri Lanka
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Social Sciences (all)