By Adam Kuper
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Extra resources for Conceptualising Society (European Association of Social Anthropologists)
Because of ideological and social clashes in a small élite and massive foreign interference, a coup was precipitated in Kabul and swiftly followed by another and by the Soviet invasion. These events delegitimated the central and provincial authorities in Herat, though the population there had played little part in the events and conflicts of interest that led up to the events. In 1980 Herat became one of the first sites of largescale resistance fighting (Klass 1987). Since then, perhaps as much as one-third of the population has sought refuge elsewhere, landuse patterns have changed drastically, supplies and trade have sought new paths into Iran, and Mujahid commanders have emerged as the key political leaders, aligned in different, loose factions under various international patronage (Saudi, Iranian, Pakistani, US).
In another and separate field of activity, smallscale circles of 200–300 devotees formed around charismatic sheikhs, which proselytized, culminated, and generally moved on in regular 15–30-year cycles. Within a large geographical area with about 1,000,000 inhabitants, the town of Herat served as the central market and defined an economic and administrative region closely 26 Individuals and networks linked with the state through the activities of administrators, merchants, and a political and economic élite.
This is my point of departure here. Marcus (1989:24–5), in that recent article to which I have just referred, takes notice of some papers of mine which ‘attempt to define a construct of world, rather than local culture’, and concludes, generously enough I think, that while my ‘definition of the space of cultural process is eloquent and clear, it is difficult to know how this conceptualization relates to strategies of ethnographic research and writing’. I am afraid I cannot now provide anything like a final and comprehensive response to this comment.
Conceptualising Society (European Association of Social Anthropologists) by Adam Kuper