Peter Kloos

1936 – 2000
cultural anthropology, philosophy of anthropology
Caribbean, Surinam, Sri Lanka

Curriculum vitae

1956-1962MA cultural anthropology, University of Amsterdam
1963MA human geography, University of Amsterdam
1963-1966researcher, University of Amsterdam
1966-1968stay in Surinam
1971PhD under the supervision of A. Köbben, University of Amsterdam
1974-1988associate professor at the anthropology department, Leiden University
1988-2000professor in sociology of non-western societies, Free University of Amsterdam
2000died on August 8

Special activities and positions

  • Co-founder of the Dutch Association of Sociology and Anthropology (NSAV)
  • Contributor to many congresses and symposia


  • Bax, Mart, “Peter Kloos: man of inspiration and many-sided anthropologist (1936-2000).” In: Dick Kooiman et al. (eds), Conflict in a globalising world: studies in honour of Peter Kloos, Assen 2002, pp. 1-3.
  • “Bibliography of Peter Kloos.” In: ibidem, pp. 277-296.
  • wikipedia


Peter Kloos wrote many publications on the theory of anthropology, on the Caribbean and Surinam, etc. (see his bibliography). Only his studies on Sri Lanka, South Asia, are included:
1971  The Maroni River Caribs of Surinam, Assen. – PhD thesis University of Amsterdam.
1979  Waarom de boeren van Kurunduvila, Sri Lanka, niet meer rijst produceren, ICA Festival.
1981  Land policy and agricultural underproduction in a Sinhalese village in Sri Lanka, Paper presented at the Symposium “Rural Development in South Asia”, Intercongress of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, Amsterdam, April 22-24, 1981, Leiden (Working paper / Institute of Cultural and Social Studies 5). –
1983  Review of: Paul Alexander, Sri Lanka fishermen: rural capitalism and peasant society, Canberra 1982. BTLV 139: 486-487.
Review of: James Brow, Vedda villages of Anuradhapura: the historical anthropology of a community in Sri Lanka, Seattle 1978. BTLV 139: 487-488.
1986  “Changing resources, changing entrepreneurs.” In: M.A. van Bakel, R.R. Hagesteijn and P. van de Velde (eds), Private politics: a multidisciplinary approach to ‘big-man’ systems, Leiden, pp. 54-66.
1987  Where colonial power and village politics met: the views of the Government Agent on cultivation in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka in the late 19th century, Leiden (Working paper / Instituut of Cultural and Social Studies 75).
1988  “Land policy and agricultural underproduction in a Sinhalese village in Sri Lanka.” South Asian Anthropologist 9,1: 55-65.
“Agricultural policy in Sri Lanka: the views of a 19th century colonial elite.” Focaal 8: 56-81.
“Koloniaal landbouwbeleid in Sri Lanka in de 19e eeuw: het gezichtspunt van de government agent.” Sociologische gids 35,3: 174-198.
“Sri Lanka studies in the Netherlands.” South Asia Newsletter (Amsterdam-Leiden) 2: 3-8.
“The consequence of the sale of crown land: from random inequality to incipient classes in a Sinhalese village in the dry zone of Sri Lanla.” VIIIth Kota Meeting, Amsterdam, 23-24 June.
1989  “Sri Lanka network.” IMWOO Bulletin 17,1: 22. – Also in South Asia Newsletter 3: 28.
“So many nationalities, one country: multi-disciplinary research in Sri Lanka.” IMWOO Bulletin 17,4: 9-13. – Also in South Asia Newsletter 4: 19-23
1900  “The jungle in the village: Woolf on Sinhalese village society.” In: P. Kloos (ed.), True fiction, artistic and scientific representations of reality, Amsterdam, pp. 159-167.
1991  From random inequality to incipient classes: class formation in a Sri Lankan village, The Hague: Institute of Social Studies. – Lecture held at the Institute of Social Studies, Den Haag, 6 Feb., 1991.
“The 3rd Sri Lanka Conference: a report.” South Asia Newsletter 7: 9-41.
“Colonial discourse: the correspondence on the condition of the Malabar coolies in Ceylon.” First Festival of the Department of Anthropology and Non-Western Sociology.
1992  “De president en de tempel: de betekenis van een politieke gebeurtenis in Sri Lanka.” In: P. Kloos (ed.), Antropologie: een juweel van een vak, Assen, pp. 50-57.
1994  “Past political identities, present political interests: an indigenous political model in Sri Lanka.” In: M. van Bakel, R. Hagesteijn and P. van de Velde (eds), Pivot politics: changing cultural identities in early state formation processes, Amsterdam, pp. 223-234.
Review of: H. Streefkerk, On the production of knowledge: fieldwork in South Gujarat, 1971-1991, Amsterdam: VU University Press 1993 (Comparative Asian studies 11). Antropologische Verkenningen 13,3: 62-66.
1995  “Publish and perish: nationalism and social research in Sri Lanka.” Social Anthropology 3,2: 115-128.
“De leeuw en de tijger: burgeroorlog in Sri Lanka.” Masala 1,1: 29-32.
1996  “Violence, ethnic identity and the transformation of the state in Sri Lanka.” In: J. Abbink et al. (eds), Societies of fear, Utrecht, pp. 27-44.
1997  “The struggle between the lion and the tiger.” In: Cora Govers and Hans Vermeulen (eds), The politics of ethnic consciousness, Basingstoke-New York, pp. 223-249.
& Jan Breman and Ashwani Saith (eds), The village in Asia revisited, Delhi [etc.]: Oxford University Press, x, 450 p.
“Restudies in anthropology: modalities, limitations and alternatives.” In: ibidem, pp. 429-450.
“The paradox of Sri Lanka: the escalation of violence in a democracy.” In: B. de Gaay Fortman and M. Veldhuis (eds), Internal conflicts, security and development, The Hague, pp. 35-45.
1998  “A secessionist movement in an age of globalization: the liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam of Sri Lanka.” In: Nancy Jetly (ed.), Ethno-sectarian conflicts and internal dynamics of regional security in South Asia, New Delhi, pp.
“The future of the welfare state in a globalizing market economy.” In: Naveed Tahir (ed.), The politics and economics of the market economy in post-cold war Europe: lessons for South Asia, Karachi, pp. 32-46.
1999  Violent youth movements in Sri Lanka: the JVP and the LTTE compared, Amsterdam (Antropologische bijdragen 3), 43 p.
The Sri Lankan government and the NGO’s: an ambivalent relationship, Amsterdam (Antropologische bijdragen 8), 42 p.
“The demise of the Trias Politica in Sri Lanka: an open gate to violence.” In: Hans Antlov and Tak Wing-Ngo (eds), The cultural construction of politics in Asia, London-Copenhagen, pp. 1-34. – Also published with title “Democracy, civil war and the demise of the Trias Politica in Sri Lanka,” Richmond, Surrey-New York, 2000, pp. 19-51.
2000  “Sri Lanka Studies Series.” IIAS Newsletter 21-02-2000.
2001 “A turning point? From civil struggle to civil war in Sri Lanka.” In: Bettine E. Schmidt and Ingo W. Schröder (eds), Anthropology of violence and conflict, London/New York: Routledge, pp. 176-196.
2009  “Sinhala and Tamil youth violence in Sri Lanka.” In: A.R. Momin (ed.), Diversity, ethnicity and identity in South Asia, Jaipur: Rawat, pp. 185-207.