Cityscapes of Violence in Karachi: Publics and Counterpublics

Nichola Khan (Editor)

    Research output: Book/ReportBook - editedpeer-review


    This book enlists some controversies that understanding, writing about and publishing on violence in Karachi entails. It brings into conversation some prominent academics—including anthropologists and political scientists—journalists, writers and activists. This diverse coalition provokes shifts away from recursive academic and media scripts of the city toward a different “counter-public” of cultural and political commentary, as the contributors critically unpack the constitutive relation of violence to personal experience and also seek to create new understandings that are tentatively shared. The approach to counterpublicking is organised around three overlapping schema. These are: social science and ethnography; epochal or historical transformation; and oral history and personal memoir. Drilling down into Karachi’s city neighbourhoods, the chapters examine ways violence is textured locally and citywide into protest drinking, social and religious movements, class and cosmopolitanism, gang wars, the fractured lives of militants, press censorship and the effects on journalists, uncertain continuua between state political and individual madness, and ways the painful shattering of some worlds produces dreams of others. While the individual chapters each provide fresh insights, the collective ethics of rewriting, rethinking or cajoling Karachi’s landscape into other forms is more dynamic and unclear, and one being worked out in public. Chapters are by Nadeem F. Paracha, Laurent Gayer, Zia Ur Rehman, Nida Kirmani, Nichola Khan, Oskar Verkaaik, Arif Hasan, Razeshta Sethna, Asif Farrukhi, Kausar S. Khan, Farzana Shaikh, and Kamran Asdar Ali. Collectively, they comprise a singular and important contribution for all those spirited to understand what went wrong with Karachi.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherHurst and co.
    Number of pages224
    ISBN (Print)9781849047265
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


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