"Negotiating urban being and becoming in Kabul, Afghanistan"

Crossroads Asia Lecture and Senior Research Colloquium by Katja Mielke

Abstract of the announced lecture:

Afghanistan’s capital city Kabul is characterized by a spatial concentration of residence among the country’s major ethnic groups. Based on qualitative field work around processes of mobilization and place-making in the West of Kabul, an area almost exclusively inhabited by Hazara, different dimensions of exclusion and boundary-making practices will be investigated. While spatial exclusion and a heightened level of geographic immobility at the city scale is experienced on an everyday level by ordinary inhabitants due to the non-existence of connecting and link roads, it also manifests in a perceived discrimination of the city district by the municipality in the eyes of the local neighborhood representatives and the chief of the district administration. In their reading the municipality of Kabul strategically ignores District 13 using the argument that the territory is not part of the official Masterplan (ghaire naqsha) and thus not eligible for urban development measures (e.g. road building, electricity provision, health infrastructure). However, the grievances arising from this perceived discrimination are not the only source for the exclusion narrative. In addition, the social boundary-drawing is informed and strengthened by several practices that merge into ‘loose ends’ or unfinished branches of the meta-conflict figuration based on ethnic framing involving Hazara and mainly Pashtuns in Afghanistan. Forming a ‘figuration of figurations’, it consists of several branches which unfold at different scales (national, regional, international, local/neighborhood, city, groups) and over time.

Date: Thursday, 15 January 2015, 1.30 - 2.30 pm

Venue:  Center for Development Research (ZEF), ZEF right conference room.