Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Power and patronage in Pakistan

Lyon, S.M.


S.M. Lyon


Asymmetrical power relationships are found throughout Pakistan?s Punjabi and Pukhtun communities. This thesis argues that these relationships must be examined as manifestations of cultural continuity rather than as separate structures. The various cultures of Pakistan display certain common cultural features which suggest a reexamination of past analytical divisions of tribe and peasant societies. This thesis looks at the ways power is expressed, accumulated and maintained in three social contexts: kinship, caste and political relationships. These three social contexts are embedded within a collection of ?hybridising? cultures (i.e. cultures which exhibit strong mechanisms for cultural accommodation without loss of ?identity?). Socialisation within kin groups provides the building blocks for Pakistani asymmetrical relationships, which may usefully be understood as a form of patronage. As these social building blocks are transferred to non-kin contexts the patron/client aspects are more easily identi?ed and studied; however, this thesis argues that the core relationship roles exist even in close kinship contexts. The emphasis on asymmetry in personal relationships leads to rivalries between individuals who do not agree with each other?s claims to equality or superiority. There are mechanisms for defusing the tension and con?ict when such disagreements arise. State politics and religion are examined for the ways in which these patron/client roles are enacted on much larger scales but remain embedded within, and must respect, the cultural values underpinning those roles.


Lyon, S. (2002). Power and patronage in Pakistan. (Thesis). Department of Anthropology, University of Kent

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Jun 12, 2006
Publicly Available Date Jun 12, 2006
Keywords Development anthropology, Education, Gender, Pakistan.
Publisher URL
Award Date 2002


You might also like

Downloadable Citations