Beyond Swat: History, Society, and Economy Along the Afghanistan-Pakistan Frontier (Columbia/Hurst)

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9780231703505: Beyond Swat: History, Society, and Economy Along the Afghanistan-Pakistan Frontier (Columbia/Hurst)

Beyond Swat addresses Fredrik Barth's seminal work, Political Leadership Among Swat Pathans and its reception in relation to contemporary developments in Swat and the larger Afghanistan-Pakistan region. Swat is a Pakistani district located near the Afghan-Pakistan border. This volume explores the relevance of Barth's work and the debates it has generated in scholarship on the key dynamics of the region and its people.

The contributors are anthropologists and historians with long-standing research experience in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as a deep familiarity with one or more of the region's complex languages. Each chapter explores different, though interconnected, aspects of the region's culture, society, and politics throughout history, relating these themes to issues in the Swat debate initiated by Barth more than fifty years ago. While contributors situate their discussions within the context of specific socio-historic settings, they do not limit their conclusions to those contexts. Rather, like Barth, they assert the relevance of their findings to wider debates on the dynamics of this and comparable "frontier" regions.

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About the Author:

Magnus Marsden is senior lecturer in social anthropology at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

Benjamin Hopkins is assistant professor of history and international affairs at George Washington University and the author of The Making of Modern Afghanistan.

Review:

The contributors not only provide a geographically bounded analysis of Swat, but also guide the reader through the numerous historical, structural and spatial inter-connections that are crucial in conferring value to the ethnography or the case study. Easily readable and enjoyable, the book offers fresh and theoretically rich perspectives on a number of concerns that go well beyond Swat. It will definitely appeal to scholars of Pakistan and Afghanistan in general, but also to readers not necessarily from the same area of study but concerned with gender, resistance, devolution, postcolonial studies, the effects of the 'war on terror', and everyday religion, among others. Exemplary.

(Marta Bolognani, Research Associate, School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies, University of Bristol.)

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Published by Columbia University Press
ISBN 10: 0231703503 ISBN 13: 9780231703505
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