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„Wem nützen nur all diese neuen Tempel?“ Religion, Entwicklung und transnationale soziale Räume im Norden Sri Lankas

Eva Gerharz

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Schlüsselwörter: Religion; Diaspora; Tamilen; Wiederaufbau; Entwicklungsvisionen


“Who benefits from all these temples?” Religion, Development and Transnational Social Spaces in Northern Sri Lanka.


Starting from the observation that the reconstruction of places of worship in war-torn Sri Lanka is a highly disputed terrain full of controversies, this article investigates the motivations and rationalities underlying Tamil  migrant commitment to the reconstruction of temples in the northern part of the country. Social and culturally embedded practices are geared towards the maintenance and constitution of social order. Donating to religious institutions is a conventional way to engage in social work and charity, and at the same time this practice serves the aim of securing social status  within the community of origin. Particularly illuminating is the contrast  between Hindu institutions, predominantly temples, and Christian  institutions, which are a minority in Jaffna. The questions at stake are: Does this serve the reconstruction and development process in post-war Sri Lanka? In what way do these practices instigate social change? What are  the development visions promoted by the institutions’ representatives? How do they relate to particular systems of knowledge? The analysis  reveals that poverty alleviation is always at the core of these religious activities; however, this is not always accompanied by visions of a more egalitarian society. This relates to questions concerning the localisation of  religion in the globalized world, as well as its relationship with and integration into the global developmental space.

Keywords: religion; diaspora; Tamil; post-war-reconstruction; development visions


Bibliographie: Gerharz, Eva: „Wem nützen nur all diese neuen Tempel?“ Religion, Entwicklung und transnationale soziale Räume im Norden Sri Lankas, PERIPHERIE, 2-2014, S. 239-262.