Bazaar Politics by Noah Coburn
Power and Pottery in an Afghan Market Town (Stanford Studies in Middle Eastern and I)

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 1 Critic Review

unrated

Synopsis

After the fall of the Taliban, instability reigned across Afghanistan. However, in the small town of Istalif, located a little over an hour north of Kabul and not far from Bagram on the Shomali Plain, local politics remained relatively violence-free. Bazaar Politics examines this seemingly paradoxical situation, exploring how the town's local politics maintained peace despite a long, violent history in a country dealing with a growing insurgency.

At the heart of this story are the Istalifi potters, skilled craftsmen trained over generations. With workshops organized around extended families and competition between workshops strong, kinship relations become political and subtle negotiations over power and authority underscore most interactions. Starting from this microcosm, Noah Coburn then investigates power and relationships at various levels, from the potters' families; to the local officials, religious figures, and former warlords; and ultimately to the international community and NGO workers.

Offering the first long-term on-the-ground study since the arrival of allied forces in 2001, Noah Coburn introduces readers to daily life in Afghanistan through portraits of local residents and stories of his own experiences. He reveals the ways in which the international community has misunderstood the forces driving local conflict and the insurgency, misunderstandings that have ultimately contributed to the political unrest rather than resolved it. Though on first blush the potters of Istalif may seem far removed from international affairs, it is only through understanding politics, power, and culture on the local level that we can then shed new light on Afghanistan's difficult search for peace.
 

About Noah Coburn

See more books from this Author
Noah Coburn has worked as a specialist for the United States Institute of Peace in Kabul, Afghanistan, as well as a researcher for the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. Between 2006 and 2008, he spent eighteen months doing research in an Afghan village on the Shomali Plain. He holds a PhD in anthropology from Boston University, and has taught at the University of Michigan, Boston University, and Skidmore College.
 
Published September 28, 2011 by Stanford University Press. 273 pages
Genres: History, Travel, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Bazaar Politics

The New York Times

See more reviews from this publication

Can the study of politics, power and culture at the local level reshape efforts to rebuild Afghanistan?

Nov 18 2011 | Read Full Review of Bazaar Politics: Power and Po...

Reader Rating for Bazaar Politics
80%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 5 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×