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Title: Destruction as rule : containment, censuring and confusion in Pakistani Balochistan
Author: Ahmad, Mahvish
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2019
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This dissertation explores the contour and content of state-ordered destruction in the construction of state, territory, and subjects. To do so, it carries out a historical and ethnographic study of state violence, from the colonial era until today, in Pakistan's southern province of Balochistan. Through this study, the dissertation argues: Where the construction of state, territory, and subjects requires a rendering of society as legible in order to create it and make it manipulable for the purposes of rule, the destruction of politics, places and peoples requires a rendering of networks opposing the state as obscure in order to dismantle them and make them docile for the same purpose. These networks, or "counter-societies," are collective identities that transgress and resist the state's version of society proper, e.g. through the collective identities of the anti-colonial rebel, the revolutionary communist, or the separatist ethnonationalist. In turn, society proper is constituted by state-sanctioned identities considered necessary for rule, like the "tribal" colonial subject or the loyal and growth-minded Pakistani citizen. Through a close reading of three cases of state violence in the colonial, early post-colonial, and contemporary era-a 1918 colonial-era military expedition, a 1973-'77 counterinsurgency campaign, and post-9/11 displacements, disappearances, killings, and army raids-the dissertation argues that the state sought to contain the "infection" of "fanaticism" in the colonial era, censure alternative ideas of Pakistan as socialist and multi-national in the early post-colonial era, and confuse attempts to articulate a counter-hegemonic front against the violence of the state in the contemporary era.
Supervisor: Desai, Manali ; Navaro, Yael Sponsor: Cambridge Political Economy Society Trust ; Department of Sociology ; University of Cambridge ; Cambridge Commonwealth ; European and International Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Balochistan ; Pakistan ; South Asia ; violence ; state ; sovereignty ; citizenship ; political subjectivity ; hegemony ; counter-hegemony ; colonial violence ; British India ; indirect rule ; colonialism ; post-colonial violence ; counter-insurgency ; Cold War ; communism ; National Awami Party ; Baloch Popular Liberation Front ; Pararis ; Jabbal ; confusion ; opacity ; destruction ; censorship ; containment ; illegibility ; legibility