My Research Interests
I am a critical realist. As a philosophical approach to study social action, critical realism considers that individual and society are interlinked through reflexivity (our internal conversations), and provides the analytical possibility to understand this interplay. I work towards extending the application of this sophisticated Western philosophy in uncovering hidden realities of social inequality, exclusion, oppression, work, life and reflexivity. Mainly, my research interests stem from the work I have done during the period of my masters and doctoral studies. While my MBA thesis looks at post-social (post-human) relations – the nature of the relationships individuals develop with machines (computers at the time) - my doctoral thesis looks at meaning of work. Developing from the concept of social inequality and the critical realist standpoint, the doctoral thesis focuses on the meaning of work in a postcolonial society and explores how individuals, through work related life projects, reflexively mediate the causal powers of the complex social structure found within contemporary Sri Lankan society. The doctoral thesis formulates a novel integrated framework for the study of meaning of work, extends the application of critical realism within a non-Western social context, and sheds light on the ongoing debate within contemporary sociology : ‘can reflexivity and habitus work in tandem?’. The most recent article I have published in the Journal of Sociological Review is a result of this inquiry into reflexivity and habitus.
My on-going research project, titled Social Media and Distracted Women: An Exploration of the Influence of Facebook(ing) on the Daily Life of Rural Sri Lankan Women, concerns the biographical consequences of social media activity by rural women of Sri Lanka. This study considers the biographical consequences of rural women who experience the digital world through Facebook(ing), and their realisation that objective social mobility is not an option for them within a continuing patriarchal social system in the way it is for other women living in urban centres locally and globally.
As the next step in developing a research profile, I aim to develop a research project that involves post-social (-human) Relations, Social media, digital distraction and vulnerable people. Extending my ongoing research project – social media and distracted rural women - and incorporating my interests developed through the MBA project, this project will explore how increasing use of digital technology, internet, social media, and digital devices shape the biographies of contemporary individuals. Catering to the Scottish Government initiative of national outcomes, this study will look at vulnerable individuals particularly, including ‘children and young people’ and ‘communities’ that includes minority groups of ethnicities, religions, sexualities, disabilities and older people. This extended research project will be based in Scotland and will explore how increasing dependency on internet, social media, digital devices is linked with exclusion, loneliness, poverty and well-being.
Besides the above outlined future research project, in the pipeline are a number of journal articles and research projects which resonate the same philosophical beliefs and societal concerns.