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South Asia and Disability Studies

Redefining Boundaries and Extending Horizons


Edited By Shridevi Rao and Maya Kalyanpur

Incorporating scholarship that addresses the social, economic, cultural, and historical facets of the experience of disability in South Asia, this book presents the reader with a comprehensive, cogent, and nuanced view of the constructions of disability in this region. In doing so, it focuses on the lived experiences of people with disabilities and their families, analyzing such disabling barriers as poverty, caste, and other inequities that limit their access to education, employment, equity, and empowerment. It addresses the interpretations of disability within different South Asian contexts including policy, family, educational systems, films, and literary narratives. Situated in an interdisciplinary perspective that spans areas such as cultural studies, law, disability studies in education, sociology, and historiography, South Asia and Disability Studies presents a rich and complex understanding of the disability experience in South Asia. The organization of topics parallels the discourse in areas within disability studies such as identity construction, language, historical constructions of disability, and cultural representations of disability.
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Chapter 4: The Terrain of Disability Law in Sri Lanka: Obstacles and Possibilities for Change


Scholarly literature concerning disability law in Sri Lanka is scarce. Bringing together a number of disability laws and disability-related provisions, this chapter is tailored to both local Sri Lankan and international readers (for more technical analyses, see Campbell, 2010a, 2010b, 2011). The development of law always occurs in the context of a country’s history, legal traditions, and contestations in local and international politics. The opening section, “Disability in Sri Lanka,” offers a rendition of Sri Lanka’s disability profile and provides the global backdrop to “geodisability knowledge” to offer clarity about frameworks driving change and accountability. Section 2, “Law in Sri Lanka,” critically appraises the constitutional structures and inherited legal traditions, for they ultimately govern the development of disability law, create rights and remedies for disabled people at the grassroots level, and conversely provide different challenges to inducing change from other countries where context and legal reasoning can be dissimilar. Section 3, “Disability Law in Sri Lanka,” is an exhaustive overview of social policy structures, dedicated disability statutes, mental disability law, social insurance/security laws, injured employee legislation, and future directions. Finally, Section 4, “Legal Mobilization and Public Interest,” considers social change and activism by reviewing legal mobilization, freedom of information, and locus standi, highlighting hurdles to multilayered disability consciousness.

Disability in Sri Lanka

The strategic position throughout ancient and colonial times has made the island of Sri Lanka a convergence point for trade among kingdoms and the intermingling of civilizations and cultures. Developments in disability law and...

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