Sunil Bastian

Crisis - Another view

A different view on the recent economic crisis of Sri Lanka with focus on the nature of the state

International dimension of Sri Lankan state formation

State formation has to be always studied in global context. This article focuses on this dimension with a focus on Sri Lanka

Reflections on state formation

Summary of a framework for analysing Sri Lankan state formation and relevance for understanding present context.

Politics of capitalist transition and state repression

This article shows the link between capitalist transition and the presidential system/PTA. These are both used as instruments of state repression. They need to be removed, not reformed, for progressive transformation of Sri Lankan society.

A Crisis of Post-war Sinhala nationalist state

A Crisis of Post-war Sinhala nationalist state Analysis of the political system and political elite controlling the state in the context of current situation in Sri Lanka

Towards a debate on state formation in Sri Lanka (2021)

This article argues that analysing the Sri Lankan state as a product of history is essential to understand the current situation. This means state is not treated as a finished, self contained entity. State formation as an ongoing process is a better way of looking at the Sri Lankan state. These are initial thoughts on this. This analysis implies we need to have a political vision that combines social justice, pluralism and deepening democracy fas an alternative political vision..

Few thoughts to begin 2021 (2021)

Written at the beginning of 2021 this is short reflection of what Sri Lankan has become.

Sunil Bastian is a political economist. His current research interests are politics of state formation and development of capitalism in Sri Lanka. He has published widely, and is the editor of Devolution and Development in Sri Lanka (1994). He has co-edited with Nicola Bastian, Assessing Participation, A debate from South Asia (1996), and with Robin Luckham, Can Democracy be Designed? The Politics of Institutional Choice in Conflict-torn Societies (2003) published by Zed Press, London. His most recent publication is The Politics of Foreign Aid in Sri Lanka. Promoting Markets and Supporting Peace (2007).  He has been a Senior Research Fellow at the International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Colombo and chairperson of the Centre for Poverty Analysis. He has more than two decades of consultancy experience with a range of donor agencies.


Sustaining a state in conflict: Politics of foreign aid in Sri Lanka, Colombo:ICES, (2018) Sustaining a state in conflict: Politics of foreign aid in Sri Lanka, Colombo:ICES, (2018)
This study focuses on politics of foreign aid to Sri Lanka from developed countries of the West, Japan and multilateral agencies during the period 1977 to end of the armed conflict in 2009. This period is characterised by economic policies that emphasised liberal economic policies and an armed conflict resulting from the Tamil demand for a separate state. The study looks at politics of foreign aid in this context. Foreign aid played a dual role. It helped to sustain a state engaged in an armed conflict, while at the same time trying to promote a negotiated settlement. Therefore it was neither a do-gooder that liberals tend to believe nor a 'foreign devil that Sinhala nationalists like to see.

Assessing participation - A debate from south asia Assessing participation - A debate from south asia
(1997) Co-editor, Assessing Participation: A Debate from South Asia. New Delhi: ITDG/Konark Publishers.

Can democracy be designed? Can democracy be designed?
(2003) Co-editor, Can Democracy be Designed? London: Zed Books.

Devolution and Development in Sri Lanka Devolution and Development in Sri Lanka
(1994) Editor, Devolution and Development. New Delhi: Konark Publishers.


(1997) Development NGOs and Ethnic Conflict, some conceptual challenges. Nethra, Vol.1, No.3, April-June, ICES.

A Crisis of Post-war Sinhala nationalist state

Reflections on state formation

Few thoughts to begin 2021 (2021)


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