‘The influence of William Morris, even here.’
Stephen Potter, One-Upmanship
In 1978 the village of Kukulewa, in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), was selected for development under the Gam Udava (Village Awakening) program launched by the recently elected UNP (United National Party) government. Five years later, in 1983, I spent nine months in Kukulewa, studying the changes that had taken place since I had first done ethnographic research there from 1968 to 1970. As I examined the local impact of the Village Awakening project, in the broader context of escalating ethnic violence, I was repeatedly struck by the official priority given to the task of revitalizing the village community, not just in programs of rural development, but in the discourse of Sinhala nationalism more generally (Brow 1988, 1990a, 1990b, 1992, 1996; cf. Moore 1989, 1992; Woost 1993, 1994).