£31.99 | $42.95

28 November 2008
ISBN: 9781848130463
336 pages
216 x 138mm

Development, Human Rights, International Relations

Also available as Hardback

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Relocation Failures in Sri Lanka

A Short History of Internal Displacement and Resettlement

Robert Muggah

Each year, millions of people are internally displaced and resettled in the wake of wars and floods or to make way for large-scale development projects, and this number is increasing. Humanitarian and development specialists continue to struggle with designing and executing effective protection strategies and durable solutions.

Relocation Failures explains how internal displacement and efforts to engineer resettlement are conceived and practiced by policy makers and practitioners. The author argues that policies for internally displaced peoples are weak and diluted by narrow interpretations of state sovereignty and collective action dilemmas, and in the case of Sri Lanka, unintentionally intensified ethnic segregation and ultimately war.

This unique new book considers the origins and parameters of internal displacement and resettlement policy and practice and proposes an explanation for why it often fails. In highlighting the ways that development assistance can exacerbate smoldering conflicts, the volume provides an important caution to the aid community.


'This book [analyzing the consequences and amelioration] of the several kinds of 'internal displacement' is a welcome addition to the literature. There are instructive similarities, but also important differences, among forced resettlement as a result of development projects, armed conflict, or natural disasters. [It is a sad commentary on our times that development studies is having to extend its scope to the restoration of governance capabilities, economic productivity and social relationships, rather than just figuring out how to advance each of these dimensions [of national existence] to more satisfactory levels.] Muggah brings insightful social science analysis to this subject, plus an incisive historical perspective. His choice of Sri Lanka as a case study is [, sadly for that country,] very apt, since this country offers relevant examples of all three kinds of internal displacement for us to learn from.' - Norman Uphoff, Cornell University

'Can one author concomitantly wield the analytical lenses of several disciplines? This insightful study brilliantly conquers this daunting methodological challenge. Muggah's major book is the sharpest theoretical, political, and sociological analysis of the conundrum of displacements and resettlement processes caused by development, conflicts, and natural disasters, that are integral not only to Sri Lanka's social fabric but epitomize the status of our today's World at large.' - Michael M. Cernea, George Washington University

About the Author:

Dr. Robert Muggah is the Research Director of the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey. Previously, he was a Global Security and Cooperation Professional Fellow (SSRC) at the Refugee Studies Centre, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford. Muggah received a PhD at Oxford University and his MPhil in Development Studies at the Institute for Development Studies, University of Sussex