(ANTI)SOCIAL CAPITAL IN THE PRODUCTION OF AN (UN)CIVIL SOCIETY IN PAKISTAN*

Authors


  • *

    The article benefited from reviews by Chris Meindle, Sharon Lash, and two anonymous reviewers. I thank Dona Stewart for her assistance through the review process.

Abstract

ABSTRACT. Pakistan is home to some of the most widely admired examples of civil-society-based service-delivery and advocacy groups. Pakistan has also spawned some much-maligned nongovernmental actors with violent agendas. This article uses the social capital / civil society conceptual lens to view the modes of (anti)social capital mobilization that contribute to the civil and uncivil spaces of Pakistani society. The case examples of Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamic revivalist organization, and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan are used to understand the geography of social and antisocial forces in Pakistan. It is argued that the processes that mobilize social capital-whether positive or perverse-are multiscalar and that, in the Pakistani context, no compelling cultural or religious reason exists for the ascendance of one type of social capital over the other. Positive social capital can be mobilized to contribute to a more civil social discourse in Pakistan, given the right policy choices.

Ancillary