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The Dynamics of Changing Ethnic Boundaries: A Case Study of Karachi

Soofia Mumtaz

The Pakistan Development Review, 1990, vol. 29, issue 3 and 4, 223-248

Abstract: Contrary to expectation, and the generally accepted belief that ethnicity defines one's primordial indentity and is, therefore, relevant and functional only in a pre-modem context, the phenomenon of ethnicity has surfaced in the modern world as a force more vital than class conflict and a source more pertinent to resolving perceived inequalities and thereby affecting desired social change. This paper examines the ethnic garb assumed by the uprisings and armed conflicts currently ravaging Karachi. The examination is undertaken within the framework of Hannan's model of the dynamics of interactions between the centre and the periphery (as based on Barth's niche theory). The paper, thus, seeks to understand the conditions which caused the definition, reinforcement, and functional relevance of ethnic boundaries, as well as the consequent salience of the phenomenon in the modem urban context.

Date: 1990
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