Punjab Research Group

cfp: Pakistan Workshop 2014: State, society, bureaucracy and networks

Posted in Conferences, News/Information by Pippa on November 19, 2013

Venue: The Lake District, 9th-11th May 2014

The Pakistani bureaucracy has been acclaimed as the inheritor to the proceduralist bureaucracy of the khagazi raj or ‘document rule’ of the British colonial administration. The continuities with post-colonial Pakistani bureaucracy have frequently been noted. However, in recent years, parts of Pakistani bureaucracy have been prodded by international development assistance to reorganise on the lines of market efficiency, intermeshing the private corporate sector and ‘civil society’ with traditional bureaucratic proceduralism. This primacy of the market has been argued to have combined with new ideas about the legitimate relationship between state and society, advancing a new vision of the state itself. Elsewhere, bureaucracies have been studied as flexible, affective and humane organisations rather than rational, inflexible, and disenchanted structures. Pakistan is no exception to the moral embeddedness of bureaucracy and the fallacy of the impersonal bureaucratic persona is self-evident in a society where relations of patron-client have been suggested as foundational. This is a call for papers to explore aspects of Pakistani bureaucracy as networks –whether in the Latourian sense as in the Actor-Network Theory, or in a more traditional sociological understanding as forms of association between individuals and groups.

The Pakistan Workshop 2014 invites researchers of Pakistan and the Pakistani diaspora to submit abstracts around this theme. ‘State, society, bureaucracy and networks’, as the theme for 2014 workshop, is only a guide to encourage submissions around this area which has been under represented in the academic discussions on Pakistan.  You may submit abstract of your papers even if they do not coincide with this theme but would be of interest to those working on Pakistan. The Pakistan Workshop was originally intended to bring together anthropologists and sociologists working on Pakistan, Pakistani diaspora and Islam in South Asia. However, we regularly receive work from a broad range of concepts and disciplines. This workshop is a forum for younger and more experienced researchers, providing an opportunity for people working in common fields to get acquainted with each other. It is therefore normally kept small and intimate with a group of 25 or less people. The venue, Rook How, is one of the oldest Quaker Meeting Houses in Britain and is an important location in the Quaker world. The Rook How offers dormitory style sleeping arrangements which are comfortable and affordable. For those who prefer B&B accommodation, there are several nice places around the area which can only be accessed if they have their own car. The deadline for abstracts is 28 February 2014. The selected contributors will be requested to pre-circulate their papers to two weeks before the workshop. For further information send an email at pakistanworkshop@googlemail.com or aq1@soas.ac.uk.

Organiser for Pakistan Workshop 2014

Ayaz Qureshi

Department of Anthropology

SOAS, University of London

Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square

London WC1H 0XG


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