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From the real to the ideal: An analysis of political culture for understanding ideological and political instability in Pakistan

Chak, Farhan Mujahid (2007) From the real to the ideal: An analysis of political culture for understanding ideological and political instability in Pakistan. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Author-imposed embargo until 05 July 2017.


This study was an attempt to assist Muslim societies in articulating indigenous solutions to the myriad of political challenges confronting them. Continuously facing intellectual and ethical alternatives to their own convictions and values, these rapidly changing societies are looking for pragmatic solutions that do not necessarily compromise their own principles, values and ideals. Specifically pertaining to the political realm, many Muslim polities grapple with the reconciliation of modernity and tradition. This process of reconciliation often leads to ideological and, consequently, political instability. This study focuses on an analysis of political culture for understanding ideological and political instability in Pakistan. It begins with a thorough overview of the literature on political culture and locates constant references to the 'core', 'enduring cultural component or 'stock of knowledge' in a society that accounts for national variations in political culture. However, what those descriptive labels precisely consist of and amount to was left vague, ambiguous and undefined. Therefore, this study proceeded to define that 'enduring cultural component, in regards to Muslim polities, and labelled it as the ’foundational’ aspect of Islamic political culture. More clearly the 'foundational' is representative of those metaphysical aspects of permanence in Islamic political culture and consists of Muslim societies' deeply cherished political ideals. Yet, this articulation is only the initial sphere of inquiry required to understand the complexity of political culture in Muslim polities. Specifically, understanding political culture in Muslim polities involves three spheres of inquiry: 'foundational', 'contextual' and 'individual.’ Those three spheres of inquiry are engaged in an ongoing triangular relationship. In other words, this interplay involves the ՝foundational political principles, thoughts and ideas - ՝ the ideals’; the ‘contextual’ in which those political ideals find depth, meaning and expression, as in Pakistan – ‘the reaľ; and, the ‘individual’ by the method and manner that political leadership chooses to interact with both the 'foundational' and contextual. The differing method and manner in which political leaders in Pakistan - the 'individual’ sphere of inquiry, choose to interact with the 'foundational' produces three variant political cultures: 'traditionalisť, 'secularist and 'revivalist. Amongst these variant political culture types, both the 'traditionalist' and 'secularist method of interaction are unable to achieve equilibrium, as the 'revivalist, between the spheres of inquiry. As a result, they both contribute towards ideological and political instability. On the other hand, the 'revivalist' method of interaction between the three spheres of inquiry produces a balance with the belief that the principle endures but its application is dependent on space-time.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:2007
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 Sep 2011 09:56

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