Posted by: Christian | May 1, 2009

Violence and Belonging: Land, Love and Lethal Conflict in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan

I hardly ever buy books. I usually just borrow and scan. But I will be buying this book  (that I found out about from The Afghanistan Analyst facebook page):

Are Knudsen, Violence and Belonging: Land, Love and Lethal Conflict in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan, (Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2009). Link.

Now, I know who Knudsen is by reputation (it’s solid). And that is good enough for me. But the fact that these people think it should be read totally sold me on ordering a copy:

“We should make the best possible use of this analysis: for its daring perspectives, extreme empirical findings, and wide relevance. It deserves a very careful reading for its contributions to so many aspects of our understanding of honour, politics and human society.”
Fredrik Barth, Professor emeritus, Boston University and University of Oslo

‘The material itself is extremely interesting, dealing as it does with an exotic locale, and with an intractable problem of endemic violence. … Dr. Knudsen draws this conflictual situation very well, and adds a great deal to the present-day study of violence, putting what is often seen as primordial in the context of modern conditions.’
Professor Charles Lindholm, Boston University

The above two are not exactly in the habit of firing off quotes to go on the dust jacket of your book. And if you are in anthropology these guys are very, very well-known to you.

A description from CMI:

This important study by research director Are Knudsen, examines the meanings of lethal conflict in a little studied tribal society in Pakistan’s unruly North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and offers a new perspective on its causes. Based on an in-depth study of local conflicts, the book challenges stereotyped images of a region and people miscast as extremist and militant. Being grounded in local ethnography enables the book to shed light on the complexities of violence, not only at the structural or systemic level, but also as experienced by the men involved in lethal conflict. In this way, the book provides a subjective and experiential approach to violence that is applicable beyond the field locality and relevant for advancing the study of violence in the Middle East and South Asia.

Just in case you are wondering, that’s a muzzle-loading rifle he’s holding. And the “ammo” is around his waist.

Further info on Are Knudsen and his work can be found on his webpage.


  1. OMG WANT!

  2. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 05/01/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  3. Woo, with a foreword by Barth. Did anyone catch his book on the Taleban?

  4. fnord,

    Please, do share this info. Are you referring to Knudsen’s monograph on NGOs in Afghanistan? Other than that, I’m stumped.

  5. Reenactors in Afghanistan!

    Jezailchis rock. Probably worth more than ten rupees.


%d bloggers like this: