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Title: The transformation of the Kingdom of Kabul into the state of Afghanistan, c. 1793-1842
Author: Hopkins, B.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2006
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The dissertation focuses on the emergence and evolution of the state of Afghanistan at the beginning of the nineteenth century and its relations with neighbouring powers. Its central thesis argues the area now known as Afghanistan was previously integrated into regional political, cultural and trade patterns. The dissolution of the neighbouring Mughal and Safavid Empires, combined with the expansion of European empires in the area, set in motion the disintegration of these patterns. As the successor states of eighteenth century South Asia gave way to the power of the East India Company, a newly-independent Afghan polity found itself faced with an alien type of government. During the first half o the nineteenth century, the Company attempted to co-opt the Afghan polity into the British imperial system as a buffer state protecting the Indian frontier. The failure of this attempt, culminating in their defeat in the First Afghan War, prompted the British to change tack abruptly. The Afghan’s unwillingness to partake in the designs of the British Empire led the Company to follow a policy of containment, designed to isolate and exclude the perceived chaos of Afghanistan on the far side of the Khyber Pass. The Company’s containment strategy ultimately maginalized Afghanistan not only from the British imperial system, but the larger global network of trade and political intercourse based on that system. The study of the emergence of the Afghan state is therefore a study of its exclusion from the new patterns of global intercourse into which it had previously been integrated. This experience of exclusion was not unique to Afghanistan. Rather, Afghanistan’s ‘failed’ colonial encounter serves as a case study informing other areas which later faced similar experiences. As such, it addresses the larger regional history and the broader forces constructing the international order during this period. Finally, the difficulties faced by the Afghan political community in constructing a ‘modern’ state were offset by the continued vibrancy of alternative social formations on the periphery of an increasingly Eurocentric world. These formations offered another space for the construction of political identity which at times threatened, at times buttressed that of the state.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available