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Informal Order and the State in Afghanistan

  • Date Published: May 2016
  • availability: This item is not supplied by Cambridge University Press in your region. Please contact eBooks.com for availability.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781316573020

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  • Despite vast efforts to build the state, profound political order in rural Afghanistan is maintained by self-governing, customary organizations. Informal Order and the State in Afghanistan explores the rules governing these organizations to explain why they can provide public goods. Instead of withering during decades of conflict, customary authority adapted to become more responsive and deliberative. Drawing on hundreds of interviews and observations from dozens of villages across Afghanistan, and statistical analysis of nationally representative surveys, Jennifer Murtazashvili demonstrates that such authority enhances citizen support for democracy, enabling the rule of law by providing citizens with a bulwark of defence against predatory state officials. Contrary to conventional wisdom, it shows that 'traditional' order does not impede the development of the state because even the most independent minded communities see a need for a central government - but question its effectiveness when it attempts to rule them directly and without substantive consultation.

    • Considers both the capacity and limits of self-governing organizations
    • Draws on ethnographic fieldwork in more than three hundred and fifty interviews conducted in local languages across thirty villages in rural Afghanistan as well as statistical analysis of survey data
    • Speaks to audiences interested in state-building in Afghanistan, but also to those seeking to understand the broad relations between the state and informal order
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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2016
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781316573020
    • contains: 2 maps 17 tables
    • availability: This item is not supplied by Cambridge University Press in your region. Please contact eBooks.com for availability.
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    Part I. The Politics of Customary Governance:
    2. The Afghan state in historical perspective
    3. The architecture of village governance
    Part II. Customary Governance and Public Goods Provision:
    4. The political economy of village governance
    5. Cooperation among communities
    Part III. Customary Governance and the State:
    6. Customary organizations and support for the state
    7. Federalism, Afghan style
    8. Conclusion.

  • Author

    Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili, University of Pittsburgh
    Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh. She earned her PhD in Political Science and MA in Agricultural and Applied Economics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Her research focuses on state building, public administration, social institutions, and governance in fragile states.

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