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Third World Quarterly


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Geodisability Knowledge Production and International Norms: a Sri Lankan case study
Fiona Kumari Campbell
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Griffith Law School, Griffith University, Southport, Queensland, Australia

Available online: 19 Sep 2011

To cite this article: Fiona Kumari Campbell (2011): Geodisability Knowledge Production and International Norms: a Sri Lankan case study, Third World Quarterly, 32:8, 1455-1474 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01436597.2011.604518

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Third World Quarterly, Vol. 32, No. 8, 2011, pp 14551474

Geodisability Knowledge Production and International Norms: a Sri Lankan case study
FIONA KUMARI CAMPBELL
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ABSTRACT Disability is a representational system and its denotation is a result

of how communities make sense of and mark corporeal dierences. In this paper I argue that the UN norm standard setting, a form of geodisability knowledge, determines the kinds of bodies known as disabled and acts as a technology of disability governmentality. The institutional strategic gaze, sited in the UN, examines, normalises and conditions nation-states. Without consensual international disability norms it would not be possible to disclose and make visible the dynamics of disability at a country level and for the World Health Organisation (WHO) to map disability globally. An alternate reading of international norms is to gure the functioning of geodisability knowledge to naturalise it through codifying hegemonic ways of seeing, citing and situating disability and thus colonise dierent cultural approaches to disability. A discussion of geodisability knowledge production is pursued within the context of a Sri Lankan case study. Relations of power in the new millennium are marked as an era of deterritorialisation and re-territorialisation. It is uncertain whether globalisation assists in the circulation of diversity or inhibits diversity through the normalisation of systems of exchange and recognition.1 Along with binding multilateral treaties, the world is beset by legislative, regulatory and ideoscaped convergence. The denotation and delimitation of that which is named disabled/disability has not escaped these capillarious relations and indeed the pressure is on to promote international disability norms and classication mapping. Critical disability studies have shown that not only does disability have a history but it also has a context.2 The very reckoning of certain impairments as impairments, let alone representation as disabilities, has changed over time and is geographically as well as culturally contingent. Since the Enlightenment genealogies of disablement point to certain historical continuities in the marking of aberrant bodies constituted as governmental rationalities (motivating discourses) that inform the practices of
Fiona Kumari Campbell is at Grith Law School, Grith University, Southport, Queensland, Australia. Email: Fiona.Campbell@grith.edu.au. ISSN 0143-6597 print/ISSN 1360-2241 online/11/08145520 2011 Southseries Inc., www.thirdworldquarterly.com http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01436597.2011.604518

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governing disability. A hegemonic governmental rationality of impairment in Western thought postures a belief in disability as inherently negative and thus an outlaw ontology. I argue that the United Nations norm standard setting as a form of geodisability of knowledge delimits and denotes the kinds of bodies known as disabled and that this epistemic culture of knowledge production reins in and thus controls anomalous, disabled bodies. The disabled body is gured as an outlaw ontology which nuisances the seamless ow and ordering of universal human organisation. International norms have an eect of reining in renegade nation-states. In this paper a discussion of geodisability knowledge production in the form of international standard setting is pursued within the context of a Sri Lankan case study. Sri Lanka has a population of around 20 926 315 and is a multi-religious society with an estimated 70 per cent of the population being Theravada Buddhist.3 Sri Lanka has recently seen the end of a 25-year terrorist guerrilla insurgency, resulting in large portions of the government budget being spent on defence and a high prevalence of war-induced physical, cognitive and psychological disablement. The body politic of Sri Lanka has been described as having a pathological atmosphere, a culture of terror that is thihaiththupona, in a state of daze.4 Developments in disability law and policy are produced within this context yet are constrained by geodisability knowledge, a project that codies and thus systematises disability. Contentious in literature is the idea of the pursuit of a universal approach to disability governance and whether an analysis of such a quest should occur within the arena of critical discourses of globalisation. Some writers argue that a focus on globalisation is a distraction from a more pressing concern, that is, the continued eurocentricism of knowledge and the domination of the global North in social policy, law reform and research agenda setting.5 I explore some of these tensions below. To start, I focus on the principal methodological analysis of governmentality and geo-surveillance, highlighting a new application of panopticonism. In section two I move to an elaboration of colonialism and neocolonial eects. Shifting to the micro level I next map impairment (disablement) in the Sri Lankan context. Section four focuses on more macro concerns by exploring what I term imported templates of geodisability knowledge that provide interpretative frameworks for overseas aid guidelines, and ultimately shape the very conceptualisation of what is meant by disablement. The paper concludes with a proposal to indigenise critical disability studies (CDS) and contains a discussion of the challenges of education for CDS in an environment where a critical mass of home-grown scholarship is largely absent. I argue that education is a key to re-founding Sri Lankan approaches to disability. Methodology: governmentality, geopolitics and geo-surveillance Undergirding my analysis of neocolonialism is Michel Foucaults notion of panopticism and his later formulation of governmentality. Foucaults early work on the panopticonal gaze, whereby inspection functions ceaselessly [and . . .] the gaze is alert everywhere is invoked in nodes of geodisability 1456

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structures of systemisation and measurement.6 Without seeking to review the extensive studies of panopticism, it is important to summarise its key features. Benthams (unsuccessful) proposal for penal management in the form of a panopticon has had long-ranging consequences for institutional monitoring at the local and global level. For Foucault the panopticon became a motif, a genealogical marker, and a template for ordering sociomaterial realities. The panopticon is a diagram of a mechanism of power reduced to its ideal form . . . it is in fact a gure of political technology that may and must be detached from any specic use.7 The panopticon is a space not just of visibility through strategic gaze or scrutiny; its space is ordered to produce norms and geo-proles, for example hospital space, client areas, high-security zones, silent spaces, international waters and airspace. The panopticon is described as a type of socio-material assemblage for grouping and arranging social categories. Today individuals are compelled, both individually and collectively, to attune and align themselves into observable, streamlineable and thus countable data. A good citizen is one who can be easily counted and whose life is reducible to statistical aggregates and coded nuances. The rendering of kinds of humans is produced by space: for instance the stranger who crosses certain territorial borders without permission or the correct papers becomes an illegal alien. A more obtuse example is the French conceptualisation of disability as situation of disability (handicap de situation). This idea bears witness to certain aspects of impairment that arise and then decline relationally and contextually. Geopolitical scrutiny does not need to be localised and is in eect transspatial. Governing from a distance operates through two discursive modalities. One modality is denotativea cartographical description of a particular spatial zone (our interest is in the mapping of ableist zones of health and not-health). The second modality forms an authoritative atonement, a discursive canon (such as international disability norms) which constructs and enacts foundational and thus sayable statements (for example who is legally a disabled person) to guide policy formulation. This modality is founded upon the denotative modality. The impact of authoritative atonements on the global South can be even more devastating, given the tendency of the colonised to have a captive mind: the inability to be creative and raise original problems, the inability to devise original analytical methods, and alienation from the main issues of indigenous culture.8 UNbased international norm standard setting in the form of geodisability knowledge production is a form of panopticonism. The institutional strategic gaze, situated in the UN, is able to examine, normalise and condition nationstates. International disability norm standard setting is represented as a system formulated by consensus, being transcultural (therefore detached) and objective. But knowledge formation by international consensus building is not a level playing eld. As Connell argues, non-Western approaches are not taken seriously enough to rupture the colonial experience.9 An alternate reading of international norms is to gure the functioning of geodisability knowledge to naturalise hegemonic ways of seeing (knowing), citing (summoning and hailing) and situating (localising) disability and thus 1457

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is an attempt to codify unruly forms of impairment dierences. Of course, increased geo-surveillance can be associated with growing global concerns about risk and dangerousness. The enemy, that which is dangerous, can be transgured from the more commonly known unruly potential terrorist to an enemy of another kind (the sick and/or disabled) who are represented as a global, ethical and economic burden, contributing to nationalist degeneration. In Michel Foucaults exposition of governmentality there was a recognition that the craft of welfare requires that individual identity must concur and be formed within the matrix of administrative structures in society. This notion of governmentality moves beyond a liberal preoccupation with aairs of sovereignty at the level of nation-states to focusing on the personal level of subjectivity and the formation of self. Some conceptualisations of disablement used in Western countries or by the UN can be contrary to varied localised understandings of dierence and well-ness.10 Escobar points out that the erasure of place and localised particularities have been foundational to Western epistemology since the time of Plato. The consequences are that space had to be dissociated from the bodies that occupy it and from the particularities that these bodies lent to the places they inhabit.11 I argue that the move to enact universalised geodisability knowledge production is a major modality for governing disability, which places disability out-of-space, or in outer space, despite the implicit materiality of the creation and living of impairment. The outer space often has a similar aesthetic about it irrespective of geographyall hospital and care homes look alike right down to the uniforms and paint colourin other words it could be anyplace, anywhere. The invention of disability occurs in the local and embodied notion of placein the distinctions made between health, not-health, disability, demonisation, and so on. The stories of disability and the handling of anomaly are grounded in the local (village) contemporaneity and do not easily slot into more generalist eurocentric claims of health and disability associations. Traces of colonialism The power of colonialism and arguably neocolonialism is generated through procedures of knowledge production. Therefore, a primary focal concern of colonial discourse study is to identify and interrogate the assumptions and representations underpinning colonial culture. Indeed, Hall calls for a project of decolonising representation.12 The preoccupations of this paper are to prompt such questions as: 1. 2. 3. What are the colonial representations of disability and how have those representations shaped current daily realities and structures? How do these conceptualisations link to the project of universalising formulations of disablement? Is it possible to identify (non-colonial) Sri Lankan sensibilities towards disablement (probably not)?

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4. 5.

What are the obstacles to developing (non-Western) Sri Lankan disability knowledges? What is the eect, both epistemologically and at the site of disability studies practices, of reducing and conning disability to UN norms?

Clear answers to all these questions will not be found here; rather this paper is an attempt to explore, to provoke and move around some of these critical concerns. There is already a well established analysis by decolonising writers of the relationship between colonial violence and the production of mental illness, including the use of psychiatry to cure uppity populations and the use of torture.13 These writings do not extend to the denotation of other disability (physical and intellectual) as devalued dierence. To make a rather bold statement: there is limited contemporary cultural and historical research on disability in Sri Lanka.14 Disability studies as a distinct eld of enquiry remains relatively underdeveloped. With the exception of work by Uragoda on health systems, by Obeysekere on indigenous psychiatry and by KT Silva on the sociology of colonial epidemics,15 existing research has been dominated by medico-clinical studies of mental health issues around suicide, rehabilitation of disabled soldiers and children with communication disorders. Inputs from medical anthropology, political science, sociology, Sinhala/Tamil linguistics and womens studies have been glaringly absent.16 My commencing statement is bold in the light of a deliberate decision on my part to exclude so-called trauma studies in the belief that the inclusion of these studies has the capacity to open a Pandoras box relating to whether disability is experienced as traumatic, or through the theoretical lter of what Oliver termed the personal tragedy theory of disability.17 A characteristic of research has been the adoption of Western approaches to research methodology and the transmission of Western modalities to interpret indigenous situations. Perera, writing about the Sri Lankan colonial context, documents the compulsion towards mimicry, that is making things the same and seamless: from street names, architecture, to welfare institutions names and protocols.18 If this argument is correct, then we might ask what adaptations have been made to colonial representations of health and disability. Perera proposes that colonialism involves the simultaneous Westernisation of indigenous peoples and the indigenisation of social and spatial structures. Indigenisation is a project involving signicant problematisation, a tension between assimilation and resistance, framed by complicit as well as conicted responses.19 Identifying specic representations of disability in the colonial period remains dicult because of the paucity of historical research undertaken around this theme. Colonisation in Sri Lanka involves the bringing of laws and a Protestant religious ethos. In 1685 the Dutch East India Company built a large asylum at Hendala to house persons with Hansens disease.20 The model asylum demonstrated that it was possible to bring solid European models of social connement to the antipodes, even though a critical re-reading of history now shows that the 18th century was not a time of mass connement; rather it can be associated with mainly family care and 1459

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gendered divisions of labour.21 What is clear is that social welfare infrastructures for Christian churches and later Buddhist organisations were adapted to service provision for disabled people. A Protestant Buddhism has shaped community and sectoral responses to social problems at the level of beliefs and community development structures. Gombrich and Obeyesekere argued that in 19th century Ceylon in response to the rising inuence of colonial Christianity on social and political life, Buddhism transformed itself by not only acquiring assumed Protestant habits but also through mimicry of welfare and missionary organisational structures. Colonial Buddhism, according to Gombrich, was strongly inuenced by the Enlightenment values of the British imperialists and as such incorporated the characteristics of Protestant Christianity.22 At the same time Protestant Buddhism represented a modern Buddhist revival and protest against the privilege and domination by the British in general, and Protestant Christian missionaries in particular. This process of assimilation and incorporation occurred on an ideological level as well as at social and cultural levels. As to the extent to which this notion drives critical responses to welfare provision in society, this debate has not been extended to the realm of critical disability studies to interrogate Christian legacies of disability service provision. Negotiations between the local and global become a business-as-usual arrangement. Uragoda in A History of Medicine in Sri Lanka suggests that the Portuguese and the Dutch were not generally interested in the health and welfare of the broader population, rather it was the English who really had the colonys welfare at heart. This can be shown through the establishment of a health care system.23 Yet KT Silva diers and cites an example of a Portuguese missionary introducing Cinchona to remedy fever. He concludes that this is an example of medicine being harnessed in the service of missionary conversion. The incorporation of colonial approaches to medicine and the management of diseased and disabled populations are set against the struggles of indigenous medicines claims to legitimacy and support from the colonial state. It is uncertain what impact the colonisers constructions of the Sinhala population had on their own perception of themselves.24 Wickramasinghe argues that it is:
. . . likely that the majority of the population would have remained for long unconcerned by colonial categories of classication that were made in law and the administration. Probably until they were involved in a process in which they had to dene themselves according to these categories.25

On the ground the tension of how to develop distinctive localised praxis, an inculturated disability imagination and respond to an increased compulsion towards alignment with global agendas, especially for trade and development, remained. This raises the question: how much slippage is possible in a highly prescriptive and regulated environment? What is transmitted within colonial governmentality, then, is not a replica, a simulacrum or imperfect fabrication, but rather a transmogrication into new entities. Knowledges, practices and resources exist in complex networks of association that reshape and have a kind of organic sociality. Sri Lanka has a long tradition of the 1460

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intermingling of cultures and practices. Practices, especially legal and regulatory, are produced and enacted in a space of intercultural legality that are increasingly shaped by an awareness of alternate ways of doing things, rather than by provincial conditions at home. However, what counts more in the end is simply the desire to be normal and congruent with the hegemonic notions of disablement, health, not-health and thus to succumb to the empire. In spite of particularised cultural formations of madness (pissu), which results in a devaluation of social position, receipt of emergency aid and counselling support after the 2004 tsunami was dependent upon the survivors being drawn into medicalised trauma enabling a readable diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to mobilise medical teams, mental health and humanitarian organisations.26 Governmentality, through its focus on technologies of self, are critical then to the task of undertaking a topoanalysis of the ways that the citizen, and more specically the individual with impairment, interpolates their identity through place and colonial constructions of community.27 Geodisability knowledges become dissonant from localised perspectives on disablement. Studies of mental illness during colonial times have traditionally neglected indigenous approaches and focused on Western-styles of delivery and treatment (the establishment of hospital and mental hygiene programmes). Today the research eld is dominated by psychiatrists trained in Western diagnostic and treatment models that are often hostile to interdisciplinary approaches or have not considered it necessary to work with sociologists and anthropologists as well as others familiar with Sri Lankas political violence to devise realistic strategies of intervention or treatment.28 Suicide treatment and research focuses on expanding the supply of hospital beds and removing methods of suicide (pesticides) instead of looking more holistically at changes to social roles, war trauma, gender relations and an increase in domestic violence and alcohol abuse. The separation of mentally ill people is contrary to Sri Lankan tradition where, Kusumaratne argues, family and signicant friends need to look after the ill person at a practical level but also protect them from supernatural inuences.29 Outside the big cities where indigenous medicine plays a role in village life, assaults by demons were a constant hazard of village life and possession not only indicated some form of retribution but was also often redened as being a spirit of benevolence. Culturally possession is not seen in an isolated way as an attribute of the individual, rather community relations and regulations involved interacting with others, gods and demons.30 With respect to the development of Sri Lankan disability policy and human service practice, it is these newly networked nodes (such as funding formulas, UN-driven legislative mechanisms) that need to be interrogated. Money talks: geodisability homogenisation In examining the relationship between development and governmentality, Watts draws attention to the work of subaltern scholars who conclude that 1461

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the notion of development is inherently a Western doctrine, where development, instead of being a solution to a perceived problem of underdevelopment, becomes the problem. Extending this perspective, development conceptualised as a shift towards global norms, in this case universal disability norms, can be gured as the problema norm that erases untameable disabilitythat corporeal dierence which refuses to be enumerated. By shifting our gaze towards the ways Western eyes represent non-Western others, Watts suggests that this new way of seeing prompts questions such as: what is development? Who says that is what it is? Who aims to direct it and for whom?.31 These questions can be solicited from key policy and legislative documents that act as sites of enunciation about the correct ways to do and speak or in another way the right tools for the job. While these critical questions act as a touchstone for the rest of the paper, this section is concerned with those frameworks that act like scaolding for the importation of development and disability paradigms, service delivery measures and applications. Non-Western countries are more often than not conceived in terms of a lack, as having a deciency or being in a state of arrested development. These transnational actors (countries and networks) are made up of a composite of ideas, resources and activities that circulate through a range of fora. Transnational actors can play an active part in socialising states into embracing and incorporating international norms not just through the usual channels of political and economic persuasion, but through domestic socialisation.32 Notably, countries like Sri Lanka, are viewed ontologically as disabled and therefore in need of rehabilitation and ethical guidance. To put this more rmly, such (non-Western) countries have cultural approaches to disability that are viewed as bereft, with no original research contributions to make to global knowledges and schemas of disability, and have approaches to service delivery that are arcane. Economic concepts like the undevelopable nation, while seemingly detached from disability associations, conjure up images of nationalist, collectivist feeblemindedness and behavioural poverty. O Tuathail argues that the geopolitics of development is still driven by a persistent missionary impulse on the part of Westerners to help the poor (heathen) unfortunates. He says: rooted in a certain religious world-view, we could trace how this attitude circulates in civil societies and how it is appropriated by political authorities to justify certain interventionist strategies.33 Contrary to the view that globalisation increases access to knowledge it can also by default induce a sense of ignorance (of what we know we do not know, knowing we are deprived of something that we might wish to know and what we do not have in terms of resources, schemas and technologies) on the part of the global South. This ignorance eect is not mutually shared across the global North and South as it can be argued that the metropole (the global North) often assumes it doesnt need to know about the orient (the global South) which lacks alternate conceptual frameworks and eld work practice modalities. Human rights instruments can be viewed in part as mechanisms for erasing ignorance. Furthermore, when discourses of disability intersect with the Sri Lankan polis, what 1462

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emerges is an ontological double bind, for the country is simultaneously gured, as well as the Sri Lankan individual with impairment, as disabled. One dominant mode of governance has been through the usage of foreign aid that can be dened to include nancial transfers (such as loans and grants) from governments, international organisations, multilateral nancial institutions and charities. These international agencies are not only a major source of policy prescriptions and nancial resources but act as a major catalyst for the adoption of reform policies. The endurance of the charity ethic in the literature assumes that NGO presence in and activities with developing nations is altruistic and healthy. Hellinger long ago warned of the danger that increasing overseas aid would have on civic values and diversication of human services practices.34 Because NGOs are conceptually grounded in a charity ethos, this has inhibited the development of a realigned focus towards promoting citizenship and rights-based social movements. The re-privileging of indigenous responses to social concerns remains dicult as the locus of power is retained by externally funded (accountable) NGOs. MacFarlane and Foong Khong point to the lack of critical studies about ways NGOs and transnational actors shape democratic projects. Increased regulation and prescriptiveness at an international level produce a homogenisation in reforms.35 The place of home grown, indigenous distinctiveness in terms of needs, processes and service delivery outcomes appears ambivalent or at best uncertain. Bearing in mind Pereras indigenisation thesis, Grindle suggests that many key players in the Third World polity embrace, often in a fervent, uncritical manner, externally imposed good governance agendas. Such a rhetorical embrace is not surprising, as in South Asia the inuence of international agencies has been at the level of ideas, ideas that have shaped understanding of social problems and sound social and economic responses. An absence of exposure to alternative conceptual and planning frameworks makes agreement with hegemonic agendas more probable. One question that emerges here, then, is: where do sociologists, policy makers and researchers access counter theories, methodologies and scholarship developed independently of aid agencies and overseas stakeholders? Grindle concludes that the evolution of the good governance agenda is the result not just of research on policies and poverty reduction, but also of vigorous advocacy of interested stakeholders. She says:
. . . much of the agenda has emerged from the research, experience, and advocacy of international nancier institutions, multilateral and bilateral donors, and international non government organisations.36

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The investment of many NGOs and multilateral nancial institutions in a specic social and economic sector means that interest convergence occurs in the developmental activities of donor agencies and overseas-funded research centres. This creation of parallel institutions potentially weakens the capacity and responsibility of the state and academy. Stirrat documents the bizarre situation of two kinds of research literature on rural Sri Lanka, 1463

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where one [is] produced by academics and another by consultants. They rarely refer to the work of each other.37 While aid can act as a technology of governancein that there is an ongoing threat to withhold aidit is less clear whether it is fear of withdrawal that is the guiding concern or a loss of political inuence and reputation. There is increased pressure on the Sri Lankan government by both the UN and international nancial donors to conform to the universal project of disability standards, denitions of disablement and externally imposed models of service delivery and of legal and policy frameworks. Concepts such as health and its opposite disability are assumed to have universal and unchanging import, erasing much of the dierent and contrary terrains to which these concepts might apply. Interest convergence can then result in the imposition of xed prescriptive disability denitions developed externally being imposed upon aid practices. A decolonised project therefore needs to highlight the importance of both conceptual and praxiological distinctiveness. Considerable attention in the rst two sections of this article has been paid to mapping the regulatory context. It is hard not to conclude that many of the representations of disablement in Sri Lanka are shaped and emerge from within a donor charity framework, making it dicult to source genuine indigenous ethical responses to dierence and impairment. In the next section, I consider in more detail specic responses to disablement in Sri Lanka. Disabilitya Sri Lankan approach? In the Sri Lankan context approaches to meeting the needs of disabled people have been shaped and inuenced by the nations 500-year Christian colonial heritage and by global, liberal (Western) conceptual frameworks instigated through the UN. Earlier in the paper I pointed to the possibility of recovering pre-colonial formations of disability, the need to document colonial forms and the desire to locate neocolonial disablement. The reality is that such a teleological approach to historicism is doomed, as the Sri Lankan sensibility is intertwined with historical ows and reactions. So what is the contemporary situation of people with impairments in Sri Lanka? Epistemologically the enumeration and knowing of disabled Sri Lankans is a vexed question. Indeed, the quest to map the disabled terrain is in many ways a succumbing to geodisability normsnorms that this paper is attempting to problematiseand seen as a justication for ordered codication. Social planning in the area of disability is made dicult by a paucity of information about the scope and needs of Sri Lankas disabled constituency.38 As in many other nations there are debates about the delimitation of disability denitions and the usage of international instruments.39 Sri Lanka nationally and ocially uses two denitions of disability. One drawn from legislation, the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (1996: No. 28): a person with disability means any person who, as a result of any deciency in his physical or mental capabilities, whether congenital or not, is 1464

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unable by himself to ensure for himself, wholly or partly, the necessities of life.40 The other denition used can be found in the National Census of 2001. Despite these enumerative and conceptual limitations, a specic Sri Lankan pattern of impairment can be described in an illustrative and not denitive way: there is an estimated population of 900 000 people with disabilities. In Sri Lanka disability is mainly produced through war, natural disasters, ageing populations41 and large numbers of people undertaking high-risk work. It is estimated that there are at least 700 000 landmines still in the ground. The most at-risk group for mine injuries are men aged 1845, children and displaced persons. The civil conict has resulted in 14 324 soldiers with disabilities, according to the Sri Lankan army, although the Association of Disabled Ex-service Personnel (ADEP) puts the gure higher at 15 00020 000 for those individuals who require articial prosthetic limbs.42 There are also high levels of mental illness, including war-induced PTSD. We know that spirit religion, ritual play and other traditional coping strategies have been used to remember the past and process trauma. A far-reaching approach to mental health is required, taking into account the consequences of living with years of civil and military conict.43 The Sri Lankan rate of suicide ranks seventh in global statistics, with a ratio of 31:100 000. Deaths resulting from suicide are estimated to be 106 000twice the number resulting from war.44 With an increased ageing population the prevalence of depression, and of cognitive and visual impairment also have a substantial presence.45 There is uncertainty about what such high levels of disability have had on transforming attitudes towards bodily or mental dierences on the part of not-disabled members of the community. Sri Lanka has the full spectrum of disability-focused NGOs, as well as a number of umbrella bodies and disabled peoples organisations (DPOs). A range of predominantly overseas-funded and/or overseasoriginated religious charities outnumber these organisations. Additionally there are a number of multilateral banks that actively support development projects. The major impetus for law and social policy reform has resulted from pressure by external forces outside the country and, to a lesser extent, from advocacy by a edgling homegrown disability rights movement. Although Sri Lanka established the rst education programme for children with a disability in 1912, policy development and legal reforms related to disability concerns have been slow in coming to fruition. In 1996 the Sri Lankan Parliament passed three signicant pieces of legislation: the Human Rights Commission Act, (No. 21 of 1996) the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (No. 28 of 1996) and the Social Security Board Act (No. 17 of 1996). Such changes in the Sri Lankan legal framework are part of the countrys ongoing alignment with the UN Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (1993). The Human Rights Commission Act established a new and permanent Human Rights Commission (HRC) for the country. The HRC is an institution that performs a broad range of functions, from investigating and mediating human rights violations to advising the government on appropriate legislative and administrative 1465

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procedures.46 However, it is not clear to what extent the HRC Act will inform dispute resolution under the more specic Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities legislation. The Act for the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (No. 28 of 1996) came into eect on 24 October 1996 by proclamation in the Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.47 The Act principally provided for the establishment of a National Council for Persons with Disabilities charged with the promotion, advancement and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities in Sri Lanka. The Act, however, lacks specic mechanisms for the implementation and the enforcement of the rights ascribed in the legislations, especially a process for the bringing of individual or group complaints. In addition, the Sri Lankan government has developed a number of signicant social policy documents that guide the development of the disability services sector and ongoing legislative reforms. In 2003 the Sri Lankan government introduced a social framework, The National Policy for Disability, to accompany that legislation. The dominant model of community engagement for the delivery of services, known as community-based rehabilitation (CBR), emphasises local control and leadership of disability programmes by disabled people. Although the focus of this paper has been on the negative aspects of internationalisation, increased international communication has facilitated the development of a Sri Lankan disability rights movement led by and for disabled people. Nevertheless, the dominant image that acts as a mirage is of Sri Lanka as a small island in the Indian Ocean crowded in by a cacophony of (international) NGOs, externally based donors operating within neocolonial nodes and a web of internationalised regulation. Imported responsesgeodisability knowledge Regimes of accountability and enumeration place upon the disabled subject a mandatory requirement of classicatory essentialism. That is, the disabled subject needs a label, diagnosis and ascriptionan enumerative passport so to speakto negotiate, access and manoeuvre networks of social organisation and regimes of disability governance. Within the inherent statistical functionalism of classicatory discourses lies a subtext of classicatory moralism. The push to create new orderings of people not only invokes new formulations of what it means to be human but also, in turn, delimits humanitys constitutive outsidethe decient aberrant Other. The preeminent apparatus controlling the delimitation of disability originates with the UN. Without consensual international disability norms it would not be possible to disclose and make visible the dynamics of disability at a country level and for the World Health Organisation (WHO) to map disability globally. The seeing of disability, it is argued, enables a surveillance both globally (of each country) and individually (everybody is surveilled for conformity). While it is beyond the connes of this paper to have a thoroughgoing discussion of the government of disability globally, it is pertinent to outline a number of salient denitional instruments that are 1466

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mandated for use by UN member nations, of which Sri Lanka is one, for the purposes of enumeration and programme development. The Human Development Index (HDI), a comparative measure of poverty, life expectancy and education, has been used by the United Nations Development Programme as a tool for the apportioning of funds since 1993. Sri Lanka is ranked 99 and has a medium human development ranking, even though 23 per cent of the population live under the poverty line.48 UN formations of disability are deeply embedded with a broader nosology of disease (see International Classications of Disease (ICD)-10), which delimits disability in relation to a so-called objective comparator referred to as health status (that is, a person without a health condition). This is an instance of colonial enframing, as the partitioning of disability and notdisability can obscure cultural dierences. In January 2001 the 54th World Health Assembly adopted the International Classication of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). The new system inaugurated four dimensions related to disability: impairment, activity, participation and context. The instruments authors argue that the aim of the ICF is to develop a common language for speaking of health and by default disability. Moreover, the new ICF provides the basis and tool for implementing various UN instruments by member states and enacting coherent national legislation.49 Without the ICF the networked nodes of UN governance would have diculty crossing borders. The epistemological framework of the ICF has been adopted by the national government of Sri Lanka and has shaped the domestic scene in terms of denitions and assessment instruments contained in legislation, social policy and the very semantics of disability (what is sayable and unsayable). Advocates of global geodisability templates argue that universal systems can be used to bring into line renegade nation-states that do not appropriately plan for the needs of disabled people. It is a rather vexed question as to what approaches to disablement are renegade and what are the authoritative criteria and authoritative body that make such a determination.50 The WHOs (re)writing of disability is still based on the premise that disability can be objectively and universally known, mapped and treated. The new ICF formulation, while cognisant of the participatory and contextual dimensions of disability, continues to be aligned with and thus becomes a sub-directory of the ICD-10. In the event of any contestations over the weighting of various elements, this framing within a disease paradigm most probaby ensures that etiological factors remain pre-eminent and the social context eclipsed. In the Sri Lankan context the usage of the comparator of a person without a health condition can obscure rather than clarify service delivery needs, especially if deliberations do not factor in socioeconomic considerations, access to resources and consequential social exclusion. In the mental health arena mental health is described by WHO along the lines of coping with the normal stresses of life. The notion of normalcy explodes given the almost normalised extra stress of living with inter-ethnic conict and war.51 Dierent cultural locations within the country would have a dierent threshold of 1467

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what counts as disabled or not: for example, children without birth certicates and with mild intellectual impairment may have no real sense of age, hence communities have no real sense of developmental delay and therefore individuals are not seen as impaired. In contrast, there may be dierent understandings and views of disability when more neutral language such as diculty with/in . . . is used to describe and represent disablement. In the aftermath of the tsunami Samarasinghe was critical of the rush to measure embodied experiences in terms of PTSD. Such a construct, she says, implies helplessness and anxiety rather than turning to narratives of agency, activism and resilience. Trauma is not normally viewed by the survivors in individualistic terms; rather trauma is associated with social factors and communality.52 A more recent tool of governance is the 2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The strength of the Convention is that its formulation of disability transcends functional and medical orientation of traditional disability models. The Preamble states:
. . . disability is an evolving concept and that disability results from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinders their full and eective participation in society on an equal basis with others.53

Article 1 of the Convention resorts to listing the more usual types of functional and classicatory approach to disability, yet it is possible to interpret these categories through the lens of an intercultural understanding using the emphasis of the Conventions Preamble as a persuasive guide. The impact on Sri Lankan disability aairs is uncertain. There is the possibility that the Convention will stimulate debate and change around disability or alternatively impose little-understood legal standards and obligations. Among the major outcomes of the Decade of Disabled Persons was the adoption, by the General Assembly, of the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities in 1993. While the Standard Rules are not legally binding, they represent a strong moral and political commitment of Governments to take action to attain equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities. The rules serve as an instrument for policy-making and as a basis for technical and economic cooperation.54 Member states are required to adopt legislative reforms in conformity with these rules. The reach of the UN extends further into the Asia Pacic region through the operation of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacic (ESCAP). The framework for this region, intended to guide both policy and legislative formation and human services practices, is known as the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action (1992).55 This rights framework contains seven priority areas. Of interest to this paper is the stipulation in Strategy 9 that governments are encouraged [required] to adopt denitions of disability based on the UN Guidelines and Principles for the Development of Disability Statistics. These instruments have come about through years of vigorous activism. UN norm standard setting is deeply problematical. Little research exists to examine the processes of developing these standards and the role of cultural 1468

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norms. Lords work documents the tensions and deals made between NGOs regarding access to planning forums and exposes the less known fact that internationally only seven organisations have Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) status, each based in the developed world with limited regional representation. What we can conclude is that even before exploring disability policy in the Sri Lankan context, the international system of knowledge articulation is highly regulated and prescriptive.56 Like a sh caught in a shers net, Sri Lanka as a non-occidental nation is subjected to the disciplinary practices of these international, Europeanised regulatory regimes which often result in non-Western countries with few resources feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the pressure to conform to (alien) global rules. Making it our own: indigenising research For critical disability studies to grow and develop within the Sri Lankan context there needs to be a vibrant training and research infrastructure and agenda. After 14 years of change in formal structures of law and policy in the disability arena, major structural and pedagogical issues exist that seriously impede the dynamic development, operation and impact of such initiatives in the lives of disabled people at the grassroots level. This nal section of the paper will rst highlight diculties and challenges in indigenising disability studies and, second, propose strategies for change. While there is an intermittently run disability studies unit within the Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya at Ragama, great challenges exist at the institutional level beyond the specicity of teaching and researching disability studies. Writing in another context, Goonatilake observes that, unlike their Indian colleagues, Sri Lankan social science scholars experience a restricted ow of information, resources and exposure to international debates.57 The degradation of the teaching and research enterprise is heightened by the peripheral role that Sri Lankan universities and native scholars [sic] command from the broader academic community, 58 NGOs and overseas funding bodies. Not only does Zubair document the poor resourcing that universities receive, he also notes that university tenured anthropologists and sociologists are in short supply. A primary task then is to broadcast the parochialism of much health and welfare scholarship that masquerades under the veneer of epistemological universalism. Where there is overseas funding, programme and course development, it is guided by oshore accreditation principles and institutions. There exists a vacuum in non-clinical social science, disability studies-orientated research conducted by both universities and peak non-government organisations. The rst challenge is to engage in education for capacity building in order for the disability rights movement to negotiate complex debates over the conceptual purview of disablement and to resist attempts at cultural universalisms that erase the diversity of Sri Lankan disability formations. This is not unreasonable, given the rich multivariate cultures within Sri Lanka and the range of experiences with colonialism, where researchers can 1469

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expect to document various hetero-temporalities and recognise dierences in nuanced and poly-vocal ways. In contrast to homogenising global discourses of disability norms and practice, it is promising to acknowledge that localised politics and tensions infuse translocal discourses of disability, illness and health. Keeping in mind these diculties, Sri Lankan universities are challenged to develop an authentic comparative framework that transcends eurocentric knowledge formations and practices and continues to expose the parochialism of knowledges and practices cloaked by the universal project. Global South scholars, already working at the periphery of the Western academy, are accustomed to negotiating (Western) theory across space in a profoundly dierent place. This process of translation, the notion that Sri Lankan history and cultures contain original possibilities, should act as a beacon illuminating the darkness of postcolonial uncertainties and unknown futures. Developments in disability law and social policy cannot be eective in terms of emancipatory social change until education for justice occurs with teachers, practitioners, disabled people and human services personnel. It would appear that only limited training and development activities have been undertaken regarding recent developments in the re-conceptualisation of disablement and the public law interest implications with legal mobilisation and reform agencies. While legislative reforms create legal interests, statutes do not create institutional resources to activate those rights. Three types of resources that can shape social change are 1) organised group support from advocacy organisations; 2) adequate funding; and 3) support of the legal profession. We know that Sri Lankans with disability have limited knowledge about the existence of services provided by the Department of Social Welfare.59 For the legal and social policy mobilisation to occur, all stakeholder sectors need to be fully cognisant of the multi-layered dynamics of disability consciousness. Although recent disability legal and social policy reforms suggest an adoption of a liberal rights framework, this shift needs to be reected in training and pedagogical strategies to negotiate existing service provision structures and attitudinal responses in a eld that is still informed by the notion of disability as a tragedy requiring charity and asylum. Without a critical appraisal of liberal rights, and eurocentric frameworks, there is a danger of entrenching an unquestioning conformity with externally imposed regulatory standards, leading to a reliance on the expertise of external (foreign) advisers who may have dierent interests in Sri Lanka, while diminishing the wisdom of Sri Lankan perspectives. It is imperative that critical disability studies education be embedded within the Sri Lankan environment. Strategies for developing a vibrant disability studies culture and an emancipatory disability services sector need to focus on two approaches to change. The rst is to promote an indigenised scholarship that builds up epistemologies and service practices. The second is to maintain a permanent critique of European standards. Scholarship needs to be transcultural and transdisciplinary; if not there is a great risk that, because of the traumatic 1470

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circumstances of Sri Lankas recent history, research around the disability experience will become medicalised. Supporting the teaching and training enterprise should be solid and distinctive university-based disability studies research which aims to document and develop local approaches to disablement. Multidisciplinary research means disability studies should not just be housed in medicine but also in departments of Buddhist and Tamil studies, psychology, literature, architecture, law, sociology, cultural and theatre studies. The second strategy is to facilitate a vibrant research culture through the development of leadership training for people with disability, incorporating education about dierent and competing conceptualisations of disability. Instead of putting money primarily into supporting NGOs, overseas donors and universities need to be encouraged to develop partnerships with Sri Lankan universities through co-operative curriculum development, publications assistance, scholarly exchanges and research funding. Conclusion In this article I have, despite the paucity of disability studies research, attempted to make connections between the development and advancement of disability conceptualisations and service delivery models, and the continued impact of neocolonial governance. What becomes clear is that capacity-building pedagogy is fundamental to resisting the imposition of culturally eugenicist norms in the form of international disability norm standard setting resulting in the unthinking and disappearance of particular Sri Lankan understandings of disablement. Drawing upon the insights of critical disability studies education within universities and at the grassroots level is one eective mechanism for the building of a distinctive Sri Lankan pedagogy. This task needs to be undertaken as part of a larger project of supporting an independent Sri Lankan university system. Although the Portuguese, Dutch and British have long left the island, a new crowd has settled inin the form of newly networked nodes consisting of NGOs and foreign advisers supported by a complex international (European provincialised) system of prescriptive regulation. Yet there are no certainties. Creolisation can provide solace as the interpolation of international norms is both complex and shifting, involving processes of incorporation, adaptation and subversion. Notes
1 R Connell, Southern Theory: The Global Dynamics of Knowledge in Social Science, Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 2007; and S McVeigh, Jurisprudence of Jurisdiction, Abingdon: Routledge Cavendish, 2007. 2 RG Thomson, Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, New York: New York University Press, 1997. 3 Central Intelligence Agency, CIA World Factbook, 2008, at www.cia.gov/library/publications/ the-world-factbook/geos/ce/html, accessed 18 February 2008. 4 A Barker, Not Quite Paradise: An American Sojourn in Sri Lanka, Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2010; and D Somasundaram, Collective trauma in the Vannia qualitative inquiry into the mental health of

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FIONA KUMARI CAMPBELL the internally displaced due to the civil war in Sri Lanka, International Journal of Mental Health Systems, 4(22), 2010, pp 131. SF Alatas, Alternative Discourses in Asian Social Science: Responses to Eurocentrism, New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2006. M Foucault, Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison, New York: Vintage Books, 1977, p 195. Ibid, p 205. SH Alatas, The captive mind and creative development, International Social Science Journal, 36(4), 1974, pp 69199, cited in SF Alatas, Alternative Discourses in Asian Social Science, p 47. Connell, Southern Theory. P Mendis, Training and Employment of People with Disabilities: Sri Lanka 2003, AbilityAsia Country Study Series, Bangkok: International Labour Organization, 2004. A Escobar, Culture sits in places: reections on globalism and subaltern strategies of globalization, Political Geography, 20, 2001, pp 139174. C Hall, Cultures of Empires: A Reader, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000. F Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, New York: Grove Press, 1963, esp pp 249310; and R Khanna, Dark Continents: Psychoanalysis and Colonialism, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003. For exceptions, see M Wickenden, S Harley, S Kariyakaranawa & S Kodikara, Teaching speech and language therapists in Sri Lanka: issues in curriculum, culture and language, Folia Phoniatr Logop, 55, 2003, pp 314321 on professional education; FK Campbell, Disability, legal mobilization, and the challenges of capacity building in Sri Lanka, in C Marshall, E Kendall & R Gover (eds), Disability: Insights from Across Fields and Around the World, Vol III, New York: Praeger, 2009, pp 111128 on capacity building and legal mobilisation; and on Rana Wiru war heroes dead or disabled, see S Perera, Living with Torturers and Other Essays of Intervention: Sri Lankan Society, Culture and Politics in Perspective, Colombo: International Centre for Ethnic Studies, 1999; Perera, Remembering and contested patriotism, in M Thapan (ed), Contested Spaces: Citizenship and Belonging in Contemporary Times, New Delhi: Orient Black Swan, 2010, pp 2146; FK Campbell, A new horizon: using the concept of ableism to rethink disability and abledness, paper presented at Perspectives on Inclusive Development: Embracing Diversity and Creating Disability-Sensitive Communities, Kuching, Sarawak, 2829 July 2010; and N Gunawardena, Wounded soldiers: biographical disruption among disabled veterans in post-war Sri Lanka, paper presented at the Lancaster Disability Studies Conference, Lancaster University, 79 September 2010. CG Uragoda, Medical gleanings from the Mahavamsa, Ceylon Medical Journal, 20(1), 1975, pp 19 25; Uragoda, Medical references in ancient inscriptions of Sri Lanka, Ceylon Medical Journal, 22(1), 1977, pp 310; Uragoda, A History of Medicine in Sri LankaFrom the Earliest Times to 1948, Colombo: Sri Lanka Medical Association, 1978; Uragoda, Some historical aspects of dermatology in Sri Lanka, International Journal of Dermatology, 23(1), 2008, pp 7880; G Obeyesekere, The Sanni demons: collective representations of disease in Ceylon, Comparative Studies in Society and History, 11(2), 1969, pp 174216; Obeyesekere, The idiom of demonic possession: a case study, Social Science and Medicine, 4, 1970, pp 97111; Obeyesekere, The impact of Ayurvedic ideas on the culture and the individual in Sri Lanka, in C Leslie (ed), Asian Medical Systems: A Comparative Study, Berkeley, CA: California University Press, 1976, pp 201226; KT Silva, Ayurveda, malaria and the indigenous herbal tradition in Sri Lanka, Social Science & Medicine, 33(2), 1991, pp 153160; Silva, Malaria eradication as a legacy of colonial discourse: the case of Sri Lanka, Parassitologia, 36, 1994, pp 149163; and Silva, Public health for whose benet? Multiple discourses on malaria in Sri Lanka, Medical Anthropology, 17(3), 1997, pp 195214. The orientation of this work has understandably been preoccupied by mental health, trauma related to the 2004 tsunami and the experience of war-related terror. M Oliver, The Politics of Disablement, Basingstoke: Palgrave, 1990. The inclusion of trauma studies may be counterproductive and give the impression of an abundance of disability research rather than the reality of a narrow framing of impairment, disciplines and conceptual frameworks. Mimicry is galvanised to re-cognise a lineage that attempts to make sense of the past. In the postindependence era the English townscape was replaced by an imaginary ancient one that recalls the heroes of the Pali chronicles, the Mahavamsa and Sinhala (rarely Tamil, Muslim or Burgher) statesmen. N Perera, Society and Space: Colonialism, Nationalism, and Postcolonial Identity in Sri Lanka, Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1998; and Perera, Indigenising the colonial city: late 19th century Colombo and its landscape, Urban Studies, 39(9), 2002, pp 17031721. PE Pieris, Ceylon and The Hollanders 16581796, New Delhi: Navrang, 1995, p 58. P Bartlett & D Wright (eds), Outside the Walls of the Asylum: The History of Care in the Community 17502000, London: Athlone Press, 1999. R Gombrich & G Obeyesekere, Buddhism Transformed: Religious Change in Sri Lanka, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1988.

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GEODISABILITY KNOWLEDGE PRODUCTION AND INTERNATIONAL NORMS 23 Uragoda, A History of Medicine in Sri Lanka. 24 The Sinhala population were often characterised by the British as being unreliable and lazy, whereas the Tamil was trainable, hence responsible for certain administrative duties. See Barker, Not Quite Paradise, esp pp 117118 on the notion of nikan innawa, a practice of contented sitting, gazing out, and intentful nothingness, reduced to sitting around, being unproductive and wasting time. 25 Silva, Malaria eradication as a legacy of colonial discourse, p 46. 26 S Perera, Spirit possessions and avenging ghosts: stories of supernatural activity as narratives of terror and mechanisms of coping and remembering, in V Das, A Kleiman, M Lock, M Rampele & P Reynolds (eds), Remaking a World: Violence, Social Suering & Recovery, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2001; and G Samarasinghe, The tsunami and psychosocial impacts on women, in N de Mel, K Ruwanpura & G Samarasinghe (eds), After the Waves: The Impact of the Tsunami on Women, Colombo: Social Scientists Association, 2009, pp 179187. 27 P Jeganathan, Communities west and east: post-tsunami development aid in Sri Lankas deep south east, in M De Alwis & E Hedman (eds), Tsunami in a Time of War: Aid, Activism in Sri Lanka and Aceh, Colombo: International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES), 2009. 28 Perera, Spirit possessions and avenging ghosts, p 32. 29 S Kusumaratne, Indigenous Medicine in Sri Lanka: A Sociological Analysis, Nugegoda, Colombo: Sarasavi Publishers, 2005. 30 J Brow, Demons and Development: The Struggle for Community in a Sri Lankan Village, Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press, 1996, p 140. 31 M Watts, Development and governmentality, Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 24(1), 2003, pp 634. 32 M Finnemore & K Sikkink, International norm dynamics and political change, International Organization, 52, 1998, pp 887917. 33 G O Tuathail, Critical geopolitics and development theory: intensifying the dialogue, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 19(2), 1994, p 230. 34 D Hellinger, NGOs and the large aid donors: changing the terms of engagement, World Development, 15, 1987, pp 135143. 35 S MacFarlane, S Neil & Y Foong Khong, Human Security and the UN: A Critical History, Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2006. 36 M Grindle, Good enough governance: poverty reduction and reform in developing countries, Governance: An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions, 17(4), 2004, p 527. 37 R Stirrat, The old orthodoxy and new truths: participation, empowerment and other buzz words, in S Bastin & N Bastin (eds), Assessing Participation: A Debate from South Asia, New Delhi: Konark Publishers, 1996. 38 Japan International Cooperation Agency, Country Prole on Disability, Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Planning and Evaluation Department, March 2002; and Asian Development Bank (ADB), Disability Brief: Identifying and Addressing the Needs of Disabled People, Bangkok: ADB, 2005. 39 B Altman, Disability denitions, models, classication schemes, and applications, in G Albrecht, K Seelman & M Bury (eds), Handbook of Disability Studies, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2001, pp 97122; F Campbell, Inciting legal ctions: disabilitys date with ontology and the ableist body of the law, Grith Law Review, 10(1), 2001, pp 4262; and J Lord, Mirror, mirror on the wall: voice accountability and NGOs in human rights standard setting, Seton Hall Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations, 5(2), 2004, pp 93110. 40 Ministry of Social Welfare, Sri Lanka, National Policy on Disability for Sri Lanka, Sethsiripaya, Battaramulla, May 2003. 41 Japan International Cooperation Agency, Country Prole on Disability, Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka; and K Wijewardene & M Spohr, An attempt to measure burden of disease using disability adjusted years for Sri Lanka, Ceylon Medical Journal, 45(3), 2000, pp 110115. Today 8 per cent of Sri Lankas population is over 60. N Wickramasinghe, Sri Lanka in the Modern Age: A History of Contested Identities, Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2006. 42 Landmine and Cluster Munitions Monitor, Landmine Monitor Report for Sri Lanka 2009, at http:// www.the-monitor.org/lm/2009/countries/pdf/sri_lanka.pdf, accessed 15 December 2009; Wickramasinghe, Sri Lanka in the Modern Age; and IRIN, Sri Lanka disabled veterans battle high costs of prosthetics, unemployment, at http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId73213, UN Oce for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aairs, 12 July 2007, accessed 15 December 2009. 43 EV Daniel, Charred Lullabies: Chapters in an Anthropology of Violence, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996; Perera, Spirit possessions and avenging ghosts; D Somasundaram, Scarred Minds: the Psychological Impact of War on Sri Lankan Tamils, New Delhi: Sage Publications, 1998; Somasundaram, Collective trauma in northern Sri Lanka: a qualitative psychosocialecological study, International Journal of Mental Health Systems, 1(5), 2007, DOI: 10.1186/1752-4458; and

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FIONA KUMARI CAMPBELL S Fernandopulle, N Thalagala & S Barraclough, Mental health in Sri Lanka: challenges for primary health care, Australian Journal of Primary Health, 8(2), 2002, pp 3138. World Health Organisation (WHO), South East Region, Suicide Prevention: Emerging from Darkness, Geneva: WHO, 2006. Of these rates Thalagala et al estimate that 46 per cent of these suicides are primarily the result of depression. See Campbell, 2009, endnote 14, on studies on suicide. R Jayasekara, Health status, trends and issues in Sri Lanka, Nursing and Health Sciences, 9(3), 2007, pp 228233; and N Weerasuriya & S Jayasinghe, A preliminary study of the hospital admitted older patients in a Sri Lankan tertiary care hospital, Ceylon Medical Journal, 50, 2005, pp 1819. M Gomez, Emerging Trends in Public Law, Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publishers, 1998. The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Bill for the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Supplement Part 11 of 9 August 1996), Colombo: Department of Government Printing. National Council of Economic Development (NCED), Millennium Development Goals Country Report 2005, Colombo: UNDP/NCED. WHO, International Classication of Impairment, Disability & Handicap, Geneva: WHO, 1980; and WHO, South-East Asia Region, Suicide Prevention. This concern was realised in a heated debate at a recent Ausaid seminar where pleas for cultural sensitivity were met with morally righteous outcries by a disability activist that the Convention would show these people the correct way to do things. Fernandopulle et al, Mental health in Sri Lanka. Samarasinghe, The tsunami and psychosocial impacts on women; and Somasundaram, Collective trauma in the Vanni. United Nations General Assembly, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 6 December 2006, at http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/convtexte.htm, accessed 29 April 2008, Preamble at [e], emphasis added. United Nations, Division for Social Policy and Development, 200304, The Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities: Abstract, at http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/ enable/dissre00.htm, accessed 2 November 2005, emphasis added. The full title is Biwako Millennium Framework for Action towards an Inclusive, Barrier free and Rights based Society for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacic. Lord, Mirror, mirror on the wall. S Goonatilake, Anthropologising Sri Lanka: A Eurocentric Misadventure, Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2001. L Zubair, Scholarship on Sri Lanka in the West: three controversial cases, Serendipity Electronic Journal, 5, 1994, pp 206219. Ministry of Social Welfare, National Policy on Disability for Sri Lanka.

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Notes on contributor Fiona Kumari Campbell is Associate Professor and Deputy Head (Learning & Teaching), Grith Law School, and adjunct professor in Disability Studies, University of Kelaniya, Ragama, Sri Lanka. She has a long-standing interest in the civil rights of people from marginal backgrounds and the consequences of discrimination and social oppression. A scholar of disability studies and legal theory, her book Contours of Ableism: The Production of Disability and Abledness was published by Palgrave in 2009.

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