Beyond the ‘Wild Tribes’

Understanding Modern Afghanistan and its Diaspora

Edited by
October 2010 9781849040556 288pp


Afghanistan and its people, whether in Afghanistan or in its global diaspora, have generated substantial interest in recent years and the desire to understand more about the country is widely felt. International organisations, non-governmental organisations and journalists are key sources of information on contemporary Afghanistan, but their ability to undertake research is often limited by their mandate and the aims of their activities in Afghanistan. In-depth academic research on post-2001 Afghanistan does exist but these studies have often taken place in isolation. This volume, edited by Ceri Oeppen and Angela Schlenkhoff, brings together the work of some of the leading European specialists studying Afghanistan and its diaspora. It collates work that contributes to our understanding of modern Afghanistan, and moves beyond the caricatures of Afghanistan and Afghans that have their roots in European imperial texts of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries but can still be seen today. Beyond the ‘Wild Tribes’ contains chapters on a wide range of issues, which all contribute to our understandings of modern Afghanistan. Topics range from the features of protracted conflict to the future of Afghan music.


‘Bringing together established analysts and a new generation of researchers, this volume takes us beyond the common and surprisingly durable cliche of the ‘wild tribes’ on the Afghan frontier. The contributors, coming from different disciplinary backgrounds and experiences, shed light on the complexities and paradoxes of Afghan history, identity and socio-political change. Such scholarship, which eschews easy stereotypes and engages with, and builds upon Afghan perspectives is more needed now than ever’. — Jonathan Goodhand, SOAS

‘This collection of contributions by a number of established researchers on Afghanistan sets a reflective tone as it seeks to address a wide range of highly complex subject areas. … The book has much to commend it, in providing thoughtful analysis on a range of issue which are significant to the future of Afghanistan.’ — Peter Marsden, Asian Affairs

‘College-level collections will consider this a “must”.’ — Midwest Book Review

‘The distinctiveness of Beyond the ‘Wild Tribes’ rests on the fact that it covers unexplored terrain. It is an ambitious volume dwelling on topics that normally do not feature in everyday discussion about Afghanistan, and its contributors distance themselves from the over-researched and overstretched debate on the Taliban and the military campaigns against it since 2001. This volume is a serious attempt by a group of dedicated scholar-practitioners to locate the ills and challenges facing Afghanistan today. Since the issues they wrestle with are timeless (in the Afghan context), their combined reflections and findings will have an enduring relevance.’ — Amalendu Mishra, Lancaster University, author of Afghanistan: The Labyrinth of Violence

Beyond the “Wild Tribes” is a timely and original work that will reorient the study of Afghanistan in important ways. Specialists in political science, anthropology, religious studies, and economics will benefit from its observations on the state of Afghan studies as well as the suggestions for moving forward.’ — Sophia Rose Shafi, The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences


Ceri Oeppen completed her doctoral studies at the Sussex Centre for Migration Research, University of Sussex. Her research includes migrant transnationalism and integration, and migrants' involvement in development.

Angela Schlenkhoff completed her doctoral research at the University of Kent looking at issues of home and identity among Afghans living in London, where she has worked for various Afghan community and refugee organisations.

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