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Big Capital in an Unequal World: The Micropolitics of Wealth in Pakistan

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Volume 29


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Big Capital in an Unequal World

The Micropolitics of Wealth in Pakistan

Rosita Armytage

206 pages, 2 illus., bilbiog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-616-6 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (January 2020)

ISBN  978-1-80073-633-7 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (January 2023)

eISBN 978-1-78920-617-3 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“This is a fascinating ethnography of the ‘micro-politics of elite lives’…a depressing but important read and a necessary corrective to every study of Pakistan that concludes with an aspirational list of policy reforms.” • Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (JRAI)

“In a true scholarly form, Armytage deploys ethnographies like a blacksmith slams his hammer: to shape and define, solidify and congeal, and meaningfully weld together disparate narrative elements of otherwise banal and ordinary character. She deserves our thanks for that, and much more.” • Jamhoor

“…an extremely valuable contribution to the anthropology of Pakistan and has much to offer to scholars of Pakistan in various academic fields.” • Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale

“a rich, highly engaging and very insightful biography of Pakistan’s business and industrial elite… This book can be a landmark to understand the classes and structures of Pakistan’s society. It offers insights about power and the numerous multipurpose ways it is accumulated and applied every day in the top 1% in Pakistan… a meticulously crafted and nuanced [study], enlivened by her extensive ethnographic content, expertly employed to demonstrate broader results.” • Pakistan Institute of Development Economics

“Through remarkable access, rich descriptions, and incisive analyses, the author deepens our understanding of the reproduction of elites and inequalities. She provides important insights into the spaces and relationships through which capital is accumulated, channeled, and secured by elites, all the while taking seriously the question of gender, ‘race,’ nation, and sexuality as it relates to class formation. Her book provides a rich resource for future research to explore old and new forms of elite integration and division…In an increasingly interdependent and unequal world, books like this enable us to better understand the consequences of elite formations for all of our lives.” • FOCAAL

“Rosita Armytage has compiled a fascinating ethnography of elite businessmen and their families in Pakistan…[Her] work is a carefully constructed and nuanced picture of elites in Pakistan, enlivened by her rich ethnographic content which is used skilfully to illustrate wider findings… a nuanced and thoroughly contextualised piece of research.” • Bloomsbury Pakistan

“A rich, very insightful and highly engaging biography of Pakistan’s business and industrial elite.” • Nafisa Shah, Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan.

“An entertaining, surprising, and lively account of the secret life of the global elite in their particular parochial Pakistani setting. Scholars of Pakistan, of economic and political anthropology, and of development, will all surely look forward to this book with eager anticipation.” • Caroline Schuster, Australian National University


Inside the hidden lives of the global “1%”, this book examines the networks, social practices, marriages, and machinations of Pakistan’s elite.

Benefitting from rare access and keen analytical insight, Rosita Armytage’s rich study reveals the daily, even mundane, ways in which elites contribute to and shape the inequality that characterizes the modern world. Operating in a rapidly developing economic environment, the experience of Pakistan’s wealthiest and most powerful members contradicts widely held assumptions that economic growth is leading to increasingly impersonalized and globally standardized economic and political structures.

Rosita Armytage is an anthropologist and political scientist specialising in global development, governance reform and social class. She currently advises the Australian Government on aid effectiveness and development strategy in Cambodia.

Subject: Political and Economic AnthropologyAnthropology (General)
Area: Asia


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