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Re-envisioning Kinship and the State in Pakistan

Latif, Mehr (2017) Re-envisioning Kinship and the State in Pakistan. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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In my dissertation project, I examine the role of kinship groups and other non-state actors in shaping the boundaries between the state and society, people’s experience with the state, and the nature of the state itself. I analyze the construction of local/state boundaries in Pakistan, and argue that Pakistan is a country that presents a compelling case to examine this construction given its relatively recent history of state formation. My research is guided by three main questions: 1) how do kinship groups reproduce themselves in contemporary Pakistani societies; 2) how do kinship groups shape state/local boundaries; and 3) how do kinship groups mediate between their members and the wider society? First, by emphasizing the agency of kinship members, I suggest that kinship groups are constructed through practices, including gift-exchange and other reciprocal exchanges. Through the lens of practice, I explain why some kinship ties are more salient than others and how kinship groups instrumentalize their relationships with the state to remain salient. Second, I show how kinship groups shape or subvert the work of key state institutions such as law enforcement and the judicial system to match their expectations. Finally, I explore important local political communities that lie at the intersection of family and the state by problematizing the public/private dichotomy. My focus on the construction of state boundaries highlights the role of non-state actors in kinship-based societies, but I also emphasize the relevance of the lens of boundary management for the Western world, where there are a plethora of partnerships between state and non-state actors that have not been explored.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Latif, Mehrmel93@pitt.edumel93
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee CoChairBlee, Kathykblee@pitt.edukblee
Committee CoChairBamyeh, Mohammedmab205@pitt.edumab205
Committee MemberMarkoff, Johnjm2@pitt.edujm2
Committee MemberBrown, Lauralaura.c.brown@pitt.edulaura.c.brown
Date: 26 June 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 5 April 2017
Approval Date: 26 June 2017
Submission Date: 13 April 2017
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 195
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Sociology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: State, kinship, boundaries, social capital, Pakistan, public sphere, performance
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2017 00:10
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2017 00:10


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