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Crafting Masculine SelvesCulture, War, and Psychodynamics in Afghanistan$
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Andrea Chiovenda

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190073558

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190073558.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 February 2021



The Dilemmas of a “Perfect” Pashtun

(p.161) 5 Rahmat
Crafting Masculine Selves

Andrea Chiovenda

Oxford University Press

The chapter revolves around Rahmat, a young man, father of two, who lives in a rural village on the border with Pakistan. His case is different from the previous ones in that he embodies apparently all the characteristics that would be expected from an appropriate Pashtun masculinity. He is in fact a well-known and respected figure in his district. Under the surface, however, lies the conflicted personal history of a man who straddled the geographical border of the two countries to engage in drug trafficking and production, and who secretly longs to escape elsewhere to regain the sense of an ideal masculinity, of which he feels he was metaphorically robbed by the distortions of a war-ravaged social context. The sense of responsibility to embody the features of the “perfect” Pashtun man clashes with the inability to do so in the “right” way, due to the perceived degeneration of modern life in Afghanistan.

Keywords:   Afghanistan, Pashtun, cultural conformity, inner conflict, shifting cultural idioms, modernity

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