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Economic structure of Sri Lankan kolam drama: a cultural reading

Author Affiliations

  • 1Department of Languages, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka, Belihuloya, Sri Lanka
  • 2Department of Sinhala, University of Ruhuna, Mathara, Sri Lanka

Int. Res. J. Social Sci., Volume 7, Issue (8), Pages 12-19, August,14 (2018)


The study is related to a folk drama that is widely spread in low country locations in Sri Lanka. By this time, our study has revealed how the Kolam drama remains in various social structures. A well-structured study can be made by studying the way a certain practice operates in various cultural and political economic structures of a society. This method is based on Structural functionalism. Important social structures have been previously studied in the manner in which the Kolam drama operates in caste, religion and education. Here studies its function in the economic structures. Two main Kolam drama schools; Hiethawatte Juwanwadu family in Ambalangoda and Mirisse Amarasinghe family from Matara, were selected for the research. The economic history of these two regions was analyzed through literary sources. Group discussions were used to determine the relationship between the economic structure and the relevant groups, and in such discussions, the Ethnographic method was used significantly. A qualitative analysis was carried out. As such, it was found that a number of highly different economic strata were established In Sri Lanka when European feudal system and capitalistic elements were superimposed on earlier caste-based feudal system depended on subsistence agriculture. This new economic system is the reason for the existence of Kolam drama in two forms, i.e. as a folk drama and as a performing art. One group is developing Kolam as an industry (JuvanWadu) whereas another group is preserving it as a traditional heritage (Mirissa-Udupila) because of this different economic system.


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