Seminar with Sabine Carey (Universität Mannheim)
The title of presentation: "Shades of peace: Perceptions of security in Sri Lanka"
How do individuals in post-war societies evaluate changes in peace and security a decade after the end of the war? An objective improvement in political stability, security and economic development might not necessarily translate into a positive subjective assessment. Do members of the winning and losing side evaluate the changes differently decade after the conflict? Members of the winning side would attests to a more positive improvement as they are objectively in an advantageous and secure position. But individuals belonging to the losing side could also be more likely to report improvements in stability and peace. Their conditions at the end of the war were likely particularly precarious, so that the absence of daily threats to their lives would constitute substantial progress, even if their personal conditions continue to lack behind compared to those who belong to the winning group. Using original survey data from a representative sample of 2,000 respondents in Sri Lanka in 2018 shows that those of the winning majority are consistently more likely to report improvements in peace and security compared to those of the losing minority. However, further analyses show that this positive assessment does not translate into optimism for political stability and peace in the future. This study highlights the importance of understanding differences in the perception of post-conflict peace, as these may impact reconciliation, coexistence and the risk of conflict recurrence.