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Learning from the Swat Pathans: Political Leadership in Afghanistan, 1978-97

David B. Edwards
American Ethnologist
Vol. 25, No. 4 (Nov., 1998), pp. 712-728
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/645862
Page Count: 17
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Learning from the Swat Pathans: Political Leadership in Afghanistan, 1978-97
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Abstract

The conflict in Afghanistan, now two decades old, has generated considerable attention from journalists, policy analysts, and political scientists, but the literature on the conflict includes few references to the work of Fredrik Barth on political leadership among the Swat Pakhtuns of neighboring Pakistan. Here I explore the relevance of Barth's work to an analysis of the war in Afghanistan. In particular, I examine Barth's "methodological individualism" and compare his approach with alternative approaches advanced by three of his principal critics: Talal Asad, Akbar S. Ahmed, and Michael Meeker. [Afghanistan, Pakistan, political authority, Islam]

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