Barth, Fredrik, 1928-. Features of person and society in Swat: collected essays on Pathans

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Title: Features of person and society in Swat: collected essays on Pathans

Published By: London ; Boston: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1981. 6, 190 p.: ill., maps

By line: Fredrik Barth

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: HRAF, 2002. Computer File

Culture: Pashtun (AU04)

Subjects: Territorial hierarchy (631); Ethnic stratification (563); Castes (564); Occupational specialization (463); Lineages (613); Real property (423); Acculturation and culture contact (177); Social relationships and groups (571); Sociocultural trends (178); Community heads (622); Prophets and ascetics (792); Theoretical orientation in research and its results (121); Chief executive (643);

Abstract: This is a comparative, theoretical study which reveals the progression of the author's thinking on the social system in the mountain-valley region of Swat. The first two-thirds of the book (Chapters 1-6) are reprinted essays analyzing the dominant features of social organization, including observations that were made in Barth's original fieldwork in 1954. A re-assessment of the author's earlier works as well as a response to his chief critics, especially Ahmed (1976) and Asad (1972) are presented in Chapter 7. (See 2:Ahmed; the Asad material has thus far not been processed for the file.) Barth applies various theoretical and organizational models to explain the territorial and social distribution of authority (Chapters 1 and 7), the rule of descent and the kinship basis of social groups (Chapter 3) and the priorities in Pashtun social and sexual relationships (Chapter 4). Barth describes social groupings among the Pashtun as having a caste and occupational component (Chapter 2). Such groups are also presented as contractual, patron-client arrangements and as lineage segments which enable tribal groups to form variable alliances and oppositions with each other (Chapters 2 and 3). The identity of Pashtun with respect to other groups occupying the same or adjacent territories is discussed in Chapters 1 and 5, while identity maintenance within Pashtun society is considered in Chapter 6. Much of the discussion in essence concerns group formation, particularly the roles of leaders and their efforts in securing a following. However, the precise nature of Pashtun social organization, both before and after Swat is incorporated into Pakistan (in 1969), remains a complex matter despite Barth's efforts to revitalize his theoretical position.

Document Number: 5

Document ID: au04-005

Document Type: Monograph

Language: English

Note: Includes bibliographical references (p. 182-185)

Field Date: 1954, 1960, 1974, 1978, 1979

Evaluation: Ethnologist-5

Analyst: Delores Walters ; Gerald Reid ; 1988

Coverage Date: nineteenth century - 1970s

Coverage Place: Swat region, northern Pakistan

LCSH: Pushtuns


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