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Empire’s h(a)unting grounds: theorising violence and resistance in Egypt and Afghanistan

Manchanda, Nivi and Salem, Sara ORCID: 0000-0002-7872-5613 (2020) Empire’s h(a)unting grounds: theorising violence and resistance in Egypt and Afghanistan. Current Sociology, 68 (2). pp. 241-262. ISSN 1461-7064

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Identification Number: 10.1177%2F0011392119886866


This article thinks theory otherwise by searching for what is missing, silent and yet highly productive and constitutive of present realities. Looking at Afghanistan and Egypt, the authors show how imperial legacies and capitalist futurities are rendered invisible by dominant social theories, and why it matters that we think beyond an empiricist sociology in the Middle East. In Afghanistan, the authors explore the ways in which portrayals of the country as retrogressive elide the colonial violence that has ensured the very backwardness that is now considered Afghanistan’s enduring characteristic. Specifically, using the example of the institutionalisation of the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR), they ask what alternative narratives might emerge if we take empire’s ghosts seriously on their own terms? In Egypt, the authors look at the ways in which Gamal Abdel Nasser’s anticolonial project continues to haunt present-day Egyptian political, social and economic life. In particular, they ask how anticolonial nationalism and its promises produced lingering after-effects, and how we can understand these through the figure of the ‘spectre’. The article asks what it would mean to produce social theory through (re)visiting sites of resistance, violence and contestation, proposing haunting as a means through which to understand and analyse political, social and economic change in the Middle East.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2020 The Author(s)
Divisions: Sociology
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2019 11:18
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2024 19:18

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