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The Emergence and Transformation of Batkhela Bazaar (Pakistan)

Muhammad Ayub Jan

Journal of South Asian Development, 2017, vol. 12, issue 3, 308-330

Abstract: This article examines the emergence and transformation of a vibrant bazaar (marketplace) in an underdeveloped area of Pakistan. I first investigate the rise of the bazaar in Batkhela (Malakand) in the face of historical conditions characterized by social stratification and political exclusivity, and proceed to probe the bazaar’s transformation and consequent role in generating economic growth and political reforms. These inquiries are undertaken against the backdrop of the extraordinary efforts of bazaar entrepreneurs to keep the bazaar functioning. Using ethnographic methods, the study finds that entrepreneurs use social networks of family and friends at different stages of their business trajectories. Whereas family networks were particularly useful during the initial stages of business development, friendship networks become more important later on. Contrary to the literature on ethnic entrepreneurship, friendship networks in Batkhela are more diverse and include members from similar and dissimilar ethnic groups. Collectively, family networks and ever-diffusing friendship networks help consolidate successful businesses in Batkhela. The study concludes that Batkhela bazaar is a monumental regional marketplace that has engendered political reforms in areas of domicile, private property and political representation for different sections of society.

Keywords: Bazaar; entrepreneurship; social networks; transformation; Pakistan (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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