Kinship Groups and Marginality

(December 2011 - )

This project, supported by the Institute of Development and Economic Alternatives (IDEAS), analyzes the contemporary significance of the kinship group and the extent to which it defines who is excluded and marginalized in Pakistani society today. It involves a review of ethnographies and case studies of communities in rural Pakistan to examine the significance of kinship groups of various forms (e.g clans, tribes, and castes) as markers of social inequality and hierarchy. The concept of universal access to full citizenship provides the benchmark against which social marginality and exclusion based on kinship group hierarchies will be gauged. The project is based on a review of existing literature, the re-examination of selected primary sources of data, and limited exploratory fieldwork. It is premised on the kinship group-based hierarchies are or have been common across the societal landscape in Pakistan, but have received relatively little academic, political and policy attention. The project aims to draw a preliminary map of kinship group and marginality of rural Pakistan as a prelude to more extensive data collection.