Posted by: Christian | November 25, 2008

Socio-Economic and Legal-Political Processes in a Pashtun Village

If you would like a source on local conflict resolution processes in Afghanistan then you should probably have this dissertation on your list:

Alef-Shah Zadran. 1977. Socio-Economic and Legal-Political Processes in a Pashtun Village, Southeastern Afghanistan. PhD dissertation, Department of Anthropology, State University of New York at Buffalo.

This dissertation by Alef-Shah Zadran focuses on “conflict resolution through indigenous legal tradition” and used the Pashtun village of Almara in Paktya (old Paktya, I think it’s now in Khost) as a case study. But the work is not a narrow legal case study from an anthropological perspective, it is also crosses into ethnography, history, religion, etc… and is a valuable source for helping to understand conflict in the Pashtun areas of eastern Afghanistan (with the caveat that the Pashtun areas of Eastern Afghanistan should not be treated as some cultural monolithic bloc and with the passage of time caveat below).

I would expect a dissertation like this to be cited more widely. I could only find citations in works by Amin Tarzi (PDF), Christine Jones-Pauly and Neamat Nojumi (PDF), Wali Rahimi (PDF), Thomas Barfield (PDF), M. Jamil Hanifi, in a blog post by Afghanistanica and in an article by Jürgen Wasim Frembgen about facial mutilation in tribal societies. And in some of the aforementioned writings the use of Zadran’s work is rather brief. The amount of original material in Zadran’s work really call for it to be used more than it is, even if the dynamics have been drastically altered with the passage of time and the massive upheavals in Afghan society. However, some great works on Afghanistan are not widely available (on 10 libraries in the world have copies). So if you would like to read it, just send me an email as I have just scanned it into a large PDF file that I would be glad to share.

I will write some future posts based on the dissertation in the near future.


  1. Christian,
    I’d love a copy of this dissertation and appreciate your efforts at converting it to PDF so the rest of us can read it.

  2. Just wanted to say thank you taking your time to scan the paper. Should be able to start reading with in the week.

  3. I would greatly appreciate a copy too.

    Thanks for the research.

  4. Likewise, I would be grateful for a copy – there’s nothing like being shamed into ordering more reading material with your lack of knowledge!

  5. I’d like a copy too, please. Thanks for your research.

  6. Hi Christian,

    I’ve been following your blog(s) for a couple of years now, and really apprecate your work. Please send me the PDF too, if you can.

  7. Hi Christian,

    If you’re still willing to share this paper, I would certainly love a copy. Thanks for taking the time to scan it!

  8. Dear Christian,

    I am currently working in south-eastern Afghanistan and would really appreciate a copy of this dissertation. Really love your blog, it has been a great source of background information for me.


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