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Title: Perspectives on political violence in the Mohajir community of Karachi (c.1984-2002) : history, biography and becoming a man
Author: Khan, Nichola
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2007
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Abstract:
This thesis analyses the Karachi conflict involving Pakistan's ethnonationalist Mohajir party, the Muttahida Quami Movement (MOM) (c.1984-2002). The thesis is innovative in analysing recruitment to violence from a biographical and historical perspective. The arguments derive from retrospective ethnography in a Mohajir neighbourhood, a comparative values survey of two political parties, Iifehistory interviews with MOM 'killers' and personal involvement over twelve years. . The study explores the historical interface between social, political, cultural and individual processes of violence. It theorises an interdisciplinary framework in order to examine the complex ways that ethnic and class inequalities and political and economic competition and conflicts 'without' connect with fantasised elements of aggression 'within' collective and individual identities mobilised around ethnicised violence. I show how oppressive social and political realities were represented within MOM as repeated humiliations and losses of status, hopes and lives both in Partition and in Karachi's conflict. Participation in violence against the state represented a kind of solution. These violent solutions mirrored the actual and symbolic violence of the state and perpetuated the conflict. The comparative analysis provides evidence for MOM's differentiation of a new, aggressive ethnic identity from the previous political generation. The thesis also sets out to explore the meaning of political violence at the individual level and focuses on a small number of men who participated most fully in the killings and violence demanded of the conflict. It argues that extreme violence, including killings, may constitute a rational response by otherwise 'normal' individuals to conventional desires for social mobility, careers, status and respectability which have been blocked: The thesis thus incorporates psychodynamic theories of aggression into the analysis of Karachi's conflict by drawing on their analyses of how extreme violence arises out of intra-family relations. I argue that the violence of political killers constitutes an attempt to repair threatened selfhood and identity. The biographies are shown to contain both past and present experiences of perceived humiliation and losses between fathers and sons, and between Mohajirs and the state, leading to fractured masculinities in which violence is powerfully inscribed. . The thesis concludes that within a movement of political and ethnicised violence, for asmall minority of those who became killers, their participation was related to severe problems experienced earlier in the family, yet regenerated similar conditions as those under protest, and increased the longterm social and economic problems facing their families.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.487913  DOI: Not available
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