Positive Responses, Uneven Experiences: Intersections of Gender, Ethnicity, and Location in Post-Tsunami Sri Lanka


Perera-Mubarak, Kamakshi N. 2013. “Positive Responses, Uneven Experiences: Intersections of Gender, Ethnicity, and Location in Post-Tsunami Sri Lanka.” Gender, Place & Culture 20 (5): 664–85. doi:10.1080/0966369X.2012.709828.

Author: Kamakshi N. Perera-Mubarak


This article examines the role of women in post-tsunami livelihoods recovery in two tsunami-affected villages in the Hambantota District, South Sri Lanka. It considers four key livelihoods recovery strategies involving women, revealing their immense capacity to overcome socially constructed disaster impacts. Their ability to respond positively is grounded in specific geographic and cultural contexts, making location and ethnicity of profound consequence. Although pre-existing ethnic backgrounds, influenced by religious and patriarchal structures, are critical indicators of the uneven ways in which women engaged in livelihoods recovery, the tsunami generated new patterns of cultural practice. The article adds to research that goes beyond the simplistic representation of women as undifferentiated ‘victims’ in post-tsunami Sri Lanka. It stimulates discussion on the lived experiences of intersectionality in feminist geography, and emphasizes the broader relevance of the study for understanding multiple and transforming positionalities that constitute the post-disaster lives of women in divergent socio-political contexts.

Keywords: gender, intersectionality, 2004 tsunami, Sri Lanka, rural livelihoods

Topics: Economies, Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Women, Gender Analysis, Livelihoods, Political Economies Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Sri Lanka

Year: 2013

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