Body Politics: (Re)Cognising the Female Suicide Bomber in Sri Lanka


De Mel, Neloufer. 2004. “Body Politics: (Re)Cognising the Female Suicide Bomber in Sri Lanka.” Indian Journal of Gender Studies 11 (1): 75-92.

Author: Neloufer De Mel


The suicide bomber has been one of the most potent weapons of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in its 19-year separatist armed struggle against the Sri Lankan state. Of the 217 suicide attacks to date, 46 have been by women. This paper will analyse the representations of the LTTE female suicide bomber in literature, propaganda, public debate and state security practice. It will argue that a discourse of morality already attenuating the act of suicide bombing lends itself to a particlarly gendered representation of the female suicide bomber that invariably twins her body to sexuality, in a scripting that also enables a patriarchal surveillance of her by the state and the LTTE.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Secessionist Wars, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-State Armed Groups Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Sri Lanka

Year: 2004

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