Voices of Sri Lanka's Youth : Aspirations and Perceptions of Freedom and Possibilities

by Lundell, Andreas

Abstract (Summary)
During November and December 2007 a Minor Field Study was conducted in the southwestof Sri Lanka with the aim of exploring the aspirations and perceptions of freedom andpossibilities among a sample of Sri Lankan youth and also how their situation is viewed uponby people in their close surroundings. The aim was also try to discern the main concerns andindicators of unfreedom that in the eye of the informants are viewed as obstacles todevelopment, to personal human development as well as to the development of Sri Lanka as anation. The theoretical framework that was used as inspirational ground and basis for theformulation of the project, was Amartya Sen’s concept of “development as freedom” and his“capability approach” which focuses on the human potential and what freedom an individualenjoys to convert capabilities into desired functionings or the realization of aspirations. Thismodern economic theory was tested in this context to find out if it is applicable and relevantin ethnographic development studies. Despite its lack of numerical metrics, the “capabilityapproach” seems very relevant to describe the reality of at least the Lankese youth in thisstudy. As methodology for the qualitative field work, Hadley Cantril’s “aspiration-model”and his “self-anchoring striving scale” was used which provides a simple, easily applicableinterview technique for exploring the unique reality of an individual and what it shares ordon’t shares with that of others. The results show that there are many strong aspirationsamong the Sri Lankan youth; aspirations of being a good person that achieve something inlife, aspirations of being able to take the best care of the family, to go through a qualitativeeducation and to get a good job with a good salary. Many youth want to go abroad. Of coursethere are aspirations of peace in the war-torn country. There are concerns and feelings ofunfreedom that relate to the unemployment situation, a very difficult economic situation in thecountry, underdevelopment and inadequate facilities, the ongoing war, and politicalunfreedom.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Växjö universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:sri lanka youth aspirations concerns perceptions freedom possibilities opportunities


Date of Publication:05/20/2008

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