Raghav Sharma: The Afghan Conflict (1992-1996). Effects of Ethnic Conflicts in Everyday

Based on Rogers Brubakers work on nation-building, Raghav Sharma traced the transformation of ethnic relations in Afghanistan. He argued that the violent conflict let to a consolidation of ethnic divisions and identities in a country, in which social boundaries have traditionally been fuzzy: intermarriage was frequent and the settlement-patterns were interspersed.

Sharma elaborated that Afghan society had once been characterised by a multiple differences. This means that individual identities were shaped by various crosscutting affiliations: language, religion, ethnicity, locality. Ethnic identities for example as Pashtuns, Tajiks and Hazara added to religious ones as Sunnis and Shiites as well as to attachment to the place people come from or life. In the course of the violent conflict, however, the ethnic marker gains social dominance over all other aspects of identity. Before 1992, the main dividing line was between communism and anti-communism.

As a consequence, ethnic conflict is now only affecting traditional craft, for example the symbols used in carpet weaving. Another consequence is the transformation of settlement patterns; especially in the cities ghettoisation: can be observed. Even people without strong ethnic identities move to “their” quarters because they want to make sure that in case of a resurgence of armed conflict, they would not life among the Others.


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