Posted by: Christian | April 9, 2008

Quote of the Week #4

From the anthropologist David B Edwards, in his book Heroes of the Age: Moral Fault Lines on the Afghan Frontier, comes this explanation for the persistence of conflict in Afghanistan throughout its modern history:

My thesis is that honor, Islam and rule [government authority] represent distinct moral orders that are in many respects incompatible with one another. While this incompatibility has been mediated at various times by the delineation of distinct realms of activity within which tribes, states, and religious institutions have exerted their separate authority, the underlying incommensurability of honor, Islam, and rule persisted and became increasingly irreconcilable with the emergence of the nation-state.

Yes, there are obvious caveats to be made about this claim, and Edwards does make them. I’ll do a mini-review of the book soon to further explore Edwards’ thesis.


  1. I agree with these kind of remarks, even if some caveats must be claimed about it.
    By the way, I’ve just finished a post (in English) regarding the colonial legacy of COIN practices in Iraq and Afghanistan, through historical and sociological lenses which, I hope so, differ from traditional thinking about this issue.
    It would be great if you could make some comments.
    Stéphane TAILLAT
    PS: merci pour la bibliographie.


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