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Title: Honour violence, law and power : a study of Karo kari in Upper Sindh
Author: Shah, Nafisa
ISNI:       0000 0004 2719 3498
Awarding Body: Oxford University
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2010
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The present thesis is a study of the cultural practice of honour-related violence, called karo kari, in Upper Sindh, Pakistan, which is also the area I work in and belong to. My study is informed by my own experiences in the field which allowed me to observe this practice from multiple perspectives: earlier as a journalist, then as an academic, but also as an administrator, elected to the very area of my field research in the period I went home to do my fieldwork. In its extreme form, this practice entails family or kin, particularly husbands, fathers and brothers, taking the lives of their wives, daughters or sisters, who have been accused of engaging in sexual relations outside or before marriage, along with the men with whom they are involved. I show here that the customs and their rhetorical form and everyday practice can be shaped in new ways to legitimate and appropriate power, at both the local and national levels. I argue that present-day karo kari is best understood as a complex product of power and law, and is thus informed by modernity itself. In doing so, I question the idea of 'custom' as a continuous norm, grounded in society, and ask whether the construct is of any use at all for understanding practices that are constandy re articulating themselves in the changing social and political conditions. At the local level, this study draws on numerous examples to show how this practice has become a turf on which multiple conflicts over marriages and resources are played out, as well as a form within which violence is normalised, even though historically the colonial authorities and postcolonial dictators alike used legal instruments to appropriate power and to share it with the rural and tribal elite. The formal power of the state over life and death in present-day Pakistan is now legally shared by the state with the kin, resulting in new ways in which karo eari is dealt with, both by the state institutions of criminal justice and in the everyday world.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available