All in the family : A psychocultural examination of Pakistan-India conflict dynamics

Kadir, Jawad and Misra, Amalendu (2022) All in the family : A psychocultural examination of Pakistan-India conflict dynamics. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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The postcolonial nations of India and Pakistan appear to have been psychologically obsessed with maintaining hostile relations after parting their ways in 1947. They have been trapped in a psychosis of competition just like estranged family branches. However, despite common use of the terms such as “kin-states” or “brother-enemies” (See Akbar, 2006; Ajithkumar, 2006; Haqqani, 2016; Raghavan, 2018; Ganguly, 1998), there are very few scholarly endeavours that have explained the familial character of India-Pakistan rivalry from a proper theoretical focus. To fill this research gap, I have used the combination of two theoretical frameworks i.e.,“psychocultural approach” (Jain, 1994; Northrup, 1989; Ross, 1993, 1995; Stoddart & Hession, 1951; Leites, 1948) and “conceptual-mapping” (Lakoff, 1996; Lakoff & Johnson, 1980) to derive an indigenous conceptual framework for explaining both states’ endless competitive urge to outpace each other. To this end, I have collected primary data to describe the attributes of the indigenous ‘culture of conflict’ in Punjab-Pakistan (which can be termed as Sharike-Bazi Culture of Conflict) and used them as an ‘analogy’ to explain India-Pakistan relations in its conflict dynamics. Using the conceptual framework so developed, this study arrives at a conflict theory to explain the rationale behind such an emotion-laden rivalry between two nations. The key argument advanced here is that peoples’ locally grounded conflict behaviour in Pakistan (and India) is shaped through forms of their earliest socialization within the most pervasive kinshipinstitutions, regardless of religious, ethnic, or sectarian affiliations. The kinship institutions are also responsible for shaping certain views regarding the functioning of other institutions in society; including in the political sphere (See Lakoff, 1996; Lyon, 2004; Lieven, 2012; S.Kakar & Kakar, 2009). The conflict dynamics associated with the segmentation processes of the kinship institution are extrapolated onto interstate rivalries by providing people on both sides with cultural moralities to pursue this zero-sum conflict. Given the significant impact of the institution of family on the lives of the Subcontinental people, I propose that instead of situating India-Pakistan conflict in a simplistic, antagonistic religious, ethnic, or communal framework, it can be more explanatory to categorize both nations as warring family branches to understand the intensity of their conflicts in familial terms.

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28 Jan 2022 16:00
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16 Jul 2024 05:57