Barth, Fredrik, 1928-. Political leadership among Swat Pathans

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Publication Information

Paragraph Subjects (OCM)

Publication Information The main body of the Publication Information page contains all the metadata that HRAF holds for that document.

Author: Author's name as listed in Library of Congress records

Title: Political leadership among Swat Pathans

Published By: Original publisher London: University of London, The Athlone Press. 1965. 8, 143 p. ill., maps

By line: Author's name as appearing in the actual publication Fredrik Barth

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Area Files, 2002. Computer File

Culture: Culture name from the Outline of World Cultures (OWC) with the alphanumberic OWC identifier in parenthesis. Pashtun (AU04)

Subjects: Document-level OCM identifiers given by the anthropology subject indexers at HRAF Political behavior (660); Culture summary (105); Acculturation and culture contact (177); Interpersonal relations (570); Form and rules of government (642); Kin groups (610); Chief executive (643); Community (620); Castes (564); Prophets and ascetics (792);

Abstract: Brief abstract written by HRAF anthropologists who have done the subject indexing for the document This revised Ph.D. thesis is Barth's early attempt to describe the political structure of Pashtun society in the Swat valley of the North-West Frontier Province of Afghanistan prior to state formation. Mutual aspects of patron-client bonds are demonstrated in such contractual relationships as those between tenant and landowner and between craftspersons and village farmers. The focus of political authority is on landowners or those who have rights to land and who preside over a men's house (hujra). Bonds between Saints (in this work mullahs receive less attention as tribal leaders) and their followers are also said to constitute patron-client units. The ability to command a large following signals to rivals that an army can be mobilized should disputes escalate into warfare. Barth asserts that the contractual relationships between leaders and their dependents underlie the territory's political system and the establishment of social order within it. However, while Pashtun may comprise the majority group in certain areas of Swat and only a minority in other regions, it is not clear how Pashtun interests intersect with the wider society. It is not fully explained, though it is implied, that the local disputes between landowners may involve the community outside of the public assembly (jirga) and the two-bloc alliance. The differences between Pashtun-led assemblies and those controlled by Saints are also unclear. Part of the difficulty in identifying the political boundaries referred to in this work stems from the basic analytic framework. Barth uses the Hindu system of social organization to compare the hierarchical and descent groups in Swat and labels these divisions as 'castes' (see pp. 16-22). According to Barth, landownership is the prerequisite for differentiating Pashtun from non-Pashtun. This explanation does not adequately recognize other indigenous kinship criteria which individuals in Swat use to distinguish among themselves. The author's analytical approach seems not to allow for other distinctions between individuals and groups, especially the role of ethnic differences which he and others have elaborated elsewhere.

Document Number: HRAF's in-house numbering system derived from the processing order of documents 4

Document ID: HRAF's unique document identifier. The first part is the OWC identifier and the second part is the document number in three digits. au04-004

Document Type: May include journal articles, essays, collections of essays, monographs or chapters/parts of monographs. Monograph

Language: Language that the document is written in English

Note: Includes bibliographical references (p. 139-141) Contact between British authorities and tribal groups loosely organized under local chiefs is indexed for Acculturation and Culture Change 177. Information regarding the process of redistribution of power to a central Pashtun ruler is indexed for Form and Rules of Government (642) and Chief Executive (643). The political leadership role of saints and mullahs, including their role in initiating holy wars is indexed for the all of the Political Behavior subjects (66*).

Field Date: The date the researcher conducted the fieldwork or archival research that produced the document February - November 1954

Evaluation: In this alphanumeric code, the first part designates the type of person writing the document, e.g. Ethnographer, Missionary, Archaeologist, Folklorist, Linguist, Indigene, and so on. The second part is a ranking done by HRAF anthropologists based on the strength of the source material on a scale of 1 to 5, as follows: 1 - poor; 2 - fair; 3 - good, useful data, but not uniformly excellent; 4 - excellent secondary data; 5 - excellent primary data Ethnologist-5

Analyst: The HRAF anthropologist who subject indexed the document and prepared other materials for the eHRAF culture/tradition collection. Delores Walters ; Gerald Reid ; 1987-1988

Coverage Date: The date or dates that the information in the document pertains to (often not the same as the field date). not specified

Coverage Place: Location of the research culture or tradition (often a smaller unit such as a band, community, or archaeological site) Swat valley, northern Pakistan

LCSH: Library of Congress Subject Headings Pushtuns


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