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swooping broad brush theories – refuting conventional wisdom

Two rather recent papers by Christine C. Fair and Jacob N. Shapiro aimed at investigating the foundation for militant and violence support in Pakistan, after in recent years studies in this direction have become numerous, but most were not so clear when it came to data aquiring and whether this would be representative for Pakistan. The most important problem was that ‘conventional wisdom’ on Pakistan is often taken as granted and used as a basis for such studies without further testing. Mainly conducted in urban areas and without considering the huge differences between the provinces, these studies become next to worthless – but they shape international policies. Fair and Shapiro have attacked these conventional wisdoms and I believe do give some scholarly backing to observations that are rather obvious to people with experience in Pakistan. Continue reading

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