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Look Inside Sorrow and Joy among Muslim Women

Sorrow and Joy among Muslim Women
The Pukhtuns of Northern Pakistan

Part of University of Cambridge Oriental Publications

  • Date Published: March 2008
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521052702


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About the Authors
  • The Pukhtuns are numerically and politically one of the most significant ethno-linguistic groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan. This important study of Pukhtun society concentrates on the lives, thoughts and gham-khadi (funerals-weddings) ceremonies of the women, especially of the elite, wealthy and educated women (Bibiane) who have largely been overlooked in previous studies. Contesting their conventional representation as idle, it illustrates their commitment to various forms of work within familial and social contexts. It challenges the commonly assumed models of contemporary Pakistan society, which make a simplistic divide between rural and urban, Punjab and non-Punjab, and feudal and non-feudal spaces and peoples. It also contributes to broader debates about the nature and expression of elite cultures and issues of sociality, funerals and marriage, custom and religion, space and gender, morality and reason, and social role and personhood within the contexts of Islam in the Middle East and South Asia.

    • Offers a post-9/11 insight into the heart of Pukhtun culture and society - the tribal society of the Taliban
    • Challenges the sophisticated body of literature on the Pukhtun people
    • Provides a unique insight into the lives of Pukhtun women because the author, as a woman, could gain first-hand experience
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "… fascinating ethnography … The book is well written; it is short and tight, yet full of good stories and clever insights. … a serious and important contribution to the ethnography of the Northwest Frontier Province, to the study of elites, and to feminist anthropology."
    Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2008
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521052702
    • length: 240 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 153 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.373kg
    • contains: 21 b/w illus. 3 maps 7 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of plates
    List of figures
    List of maps
    List of tables
    Note on transliteration
    1. Gham-khādi: framework and fieldwork
    2. From the inside-out: Bibiane's 'dual lives' in and beyond the house
    3. The work of mourning: death and dismay among Bibiane
    4. Celebrating khādi: communal Pukhtun weddings and clandestine internet marriages
    5. The work of gham-khādi: 'not to do gham-khādi is shameful (sharam)
    to do it a burden'

  • Author

    Amineh Ahmed, Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge
    Amineh Ahmed Hoti is a member of the Faculty of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge and a Visiting Scholar at Lucy Cavendish College, where she leads a society for interfaith dialogue.

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