Articulation of tribalism into modernity : the case of Pashtuns in Afghanistan

Sungur, Zeynep Tuba
The main objective of this thesis is to analyse the relationship between tribalism and modernity in Afghanistan. Focusing on Pashtuns, who constitute the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan, the thesis traces their transformation from a tribal confederacy into a central state that introduced modernity to Afghanistan. In this regard, the thesis is, basically, a discussion of the struggle for power between two institutions in Afghanistan: the tribe and the state. In an effort to reveal the relationship between the two, the thesis looks at the modern strategies and ideologies used by the Afghan state to beat the power of tribalism. Nationalism and Socialism, in this regard, come up as two modern ideologies that are discussed in relation to Pashtun Tribalism. Questioning the concepts of Afghan Nationalism and Pashtun Nationalism as well as their relation to Pashtun Tribalism, the thesis discusses the concept of a tribe within the frame of modern border demarcation, nation-building efforts and modernist reform programmes. Passing on to the discussion on Socialism, the thesis then addresses the question of tribe in relation to the idea of class struggle, a communist party, a modern coup d’état and a communist revolution. Contrasting the concept of tribe with such modern notions, the thesis finally reveals how tribalism managed to survive within these modern ideologies by articulating into them in various ways.
Citation Formats
Z. T. Sungur, “Articulation of tribalism into modernity : the case of Pashtuns in Afghanistan,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2013.