Honour and Violence: Gender, Power and Law in Southern Pakistan | BERGHAHN BOOKS
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Honour and Violence: Gender, Power and Law in Southern Pakistan

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Volume 39

New Directions in Anthropology

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Honour and Violence

Gender, Power and Law in Southern Pakistan

Nafisa Shah

302 pages, 34 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-081-0 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (October 2016)

ISBN  978-1-78533-365-1 $29.95/£23.95 / Pb / Published (October 2016)

eISBN 978-1-78533-082-7 eBook


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


“By examining the circumstances of the violence itself, Shah offers insights into the complex factors motivating honour violence. This study is therefore a significant and welcome addition to the anthropology of honour that, I believe, will change the way we understand honour killings, not only in Pakistan but in any place where people cover up their violence by resorting to arguments of honour.” • Anthropos

“As the first sustained ethnographic analysis of accusations and killings in the name of honour, it is an important work that will be of interest, not just to legal anthropologists, but also to gender studies and the anthropology of the state.” • South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies

“This is an extremely impressive achievement that makes a significant and substantial contribution to the ethnography of Pakistan and to the broader field of legal anthropology.” • Hastings Donnan, Queen's University of Belfast

“This landmark study offers a new perspective for understanding and dealing with honour-related violence, demonstrating that honour does not lead to violence but that such violence is strategy ‘masked in honour’.” • Alison Shaw, University of Oxford

“[Shah] presents her argument with fluency, creativity, and a rare humanistic sensitivity. This has all of the elements that allow a study to age into a classic.” • Mohammad Talib, Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies


The practice of karo kari allows family, especially fathers, brothers and sons, to take the lives of their daughters, sisters and mothers if they are accused of adultery. This volume examines the central position of karo kari in the social, political and juridical structures in Upper Sindh, Pakistan. Drawing connections between local contests over marriage and resources, Nafisa Shah unearths deep historical processes and power relations. In particular, she explores how the state justice system and informal mediations inform each other in state responses to karo kari, and how modern law is implicated in this seemingly ancient cultural practice.

Nafisa Shah is a member of the National Assembly, the Lower House of the Parliament of Pakistan. Shah began her public life as a journalist, later studying social and cultural anthropology at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Oxford, where she received her D.Phil in 2011.

Subject: Anthropology (General)Gender Studies and Sexuality
Area: Asia


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