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Year : 2003  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 2-11

Collective Trauma in Sri Lanka

psychiatrist, is head of the Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Jaffna

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The ethnic war in Sri Lanka has brought psychosocial problems for individuals and families. In addition, it has had a devastating effect on Sri Lankan society; we can speak of a collective trauma. It has caused regression of all development, destroying social capital, structures and institutions. It has also resulted in changes, for the worse, of fundamental social processes like socialization, social norms and social networks. However, despite the obvious negative sequelae of war, some positive effects on social processes too can be identified: emergence community organizations, decline of the cast system, emancipation of women and decline of suicide rates. This article presents an overview of both positive and negative effects of the war on Sri Lankan society and discusses programmes for countering the negative effects.

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