The newest addition to YCAR’s Asia Colloquia Paper series is now available online.
Failing State or Fragmented Hegemony: The Political Economy of Change in Pakistan by Aasim Sajjad Akhtar (Quaid-i-Azam University) explores the complex and evolving relationship between Pakistani state and society.
The paper is based on a keynote address at the conference Pakistan Beyond Tremors and Terror: Critical Engagements with Political, Economic and Cultural Change, which took place in Toronto as a joint York-Ryerson-University of Toronto event.
In this paper, Aasim Sajjad Akhtar argues that a classically dichotomized historical materialism is insufficient to capture the Pakistani condition. While the class structure has evolved considerably between the colonial and contemporary periods, the structure of power in Pakistan is still centred around patronage ties, even while the underlying bases of patron-client relations have been transformed. While patronage was based on the control over natural resources such as land and water under British colonialism, later regimes found themselves patronizing an intermediate class emerging out of the subordinate classes. In explaining these shifts, Akhtar uses a Gramscian framework of analysis to explore the shifting institutional dynamics of the state, the role of capital and the evolving bases of patronage within the political economy of Pakistan.
The paper can be accessed here.
Video footage of the talk is available on Tanqeed’s website: