The Making, and Un-making, of a Religious Militant
Umar is a man from Jalalabad, now in his mid-thirties, who early in adolescence became a religious preacher for the Taliban movement. The defeat of the Taliban at the hands of the US-led coalition shook his beliefs and political convictions. After a period of personal confusion, he found a new path for himself, and now is a financial officer for an international organization that funds agricultural works in Afghanistan. The chapter elaborates further on phenomena of multiple subjectivities and healthy, adaptive dissociation between them, which it claims are key to understanding the developments in Umar’s life. By looking closely at Umar’s personal struggle, the chapter also investigates the depth with which enculturation and social arrangements shape the individual’s subjectivity. It argues, and shows, that culturally mandated life choices and behaviors may become authentically “one’s own,” and still conflict with more purely private and personally derived ones.
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