ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From Below

S Akbar Zaidi has to be congratulated for initiating the quite formidable task of “rethinking Pakistan’s political economy” in the face of both global stereotyping and the poor state of social sciences within the country. My PhD dissertation, with which Zaidi engages in detail, was a modest attempt along similar lines. It is to Zaidi’s credit that he has been thinking and writing about actually existing Pakistani society and the state for three decades, and that a critical mass of scholars now appears to be emerging to build on his, and a handful of others’, efforts.

What links together this newer generation of scholars, to my mind, is a commitment to both breaching narrow disciplinary boundaries and rethinking meta-concepts such as the “state” in the light of everyday practices. This necessarily means moving beyond the by now standardised accounts of Pakistani history, in which successive political regimes are both cause and consequence of all major thematic concerns.

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