Negotiating Cultural Diversity in Afghanistan: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Negotiating Cultural Diversity in Afghanistan

1st Edition

By Omar Sadr

Routledge India

276 pages | 6 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138371057
pub: 2020-01-31
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This book analyses multiculturalism and state-building in contemporary Afghanistan. It explores how modern state construction in twentieth-century Afghanistan led to forced assimilation, expulsion and multiple forms of discriminations and how Afghan nationalism was manufactured as an ideology to reinforce the process of Afghanisation. The book elaborates the challenge of intra-group diversity and problem of accommodating individual choice and freedom while recognising group rights. It further explains the shifts in the state’s policies and societal responses to different forms of governance of cultural diversity. The author shows how the legacy of Amir Abd-ur-Rahman continued to influence the transitions in the 1990s and 2000s and how the current political structure of state established after the second transition in 2001 repeats the faulty model of centralised Westphalian State. The book develops a framework on a democratic and inclusive approach to governance of diversity and interculturalism, and traces patterns of integration of politics and culture.

A major intervention in understanding a war-torn country through an insider account, this book will be of great interest to scholars and researchers of politics and international relations, especially those concerned with multiculturalism, state-building, nationalism, and liberalism, as well as those in cultural studies, history, Afghanistan studies, South Asian studies, Middle East studies, minority studies, military and strategic studies, and to policymakers and diplomats.


‘Omar Sadr attempts a well-founded analysis of the identity politics in Afghanistan. His central argument — that for democracy to be a successful project, it must be grounded in the representation of cultural diversity — is pertinent to contemporary Afghanistan. Sadr’s contribution to the discourse on multiculturalism addresses a crucial gap in the literature on Afghanistan, making it significant for its academic worth and its relevance to policy.’

Jayashree Vivekanandan, Department of International Relations, South Asian University, New Delhi, India

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables


Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Cultural Diversity and the State

Chapter 3: Afghan Nationalism and its Discontents

Chapter 4: Modes of Cultural Integration and Homogenisation in Afghanistan

Chapter 5: The Problematique of Governance of Cultural Diversity

Chapter 6: Intercultural Dialogue in a Fragile Society

Chapter 7: Role of External Actors in Afghanistan (1992–2014)

Chapter 8: Conclusion


About the Author

Omar Sadr is Assistant Professor at American University of Afghanistan (AUAF), Kabul, Afghanistan. Previously, he worked at the Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies (AISS) and National Centre for Policy Research (NCPR), Kabul University. His primary research interests are in the intersection of culture and politics. He earned a doctorate from South Asian University, New Delhi, India. His recent publications include "Political Settlement of Afghanistan Conflict" (2019); "The Fallacy of Afghanistan’s Peace Process: A People’s Perspectives" (2018); "Mahmud Tarzi: Intellectual and Reformist," in Dev N. Pathak and Sanjeev Kumar H.M. (eds), Modern South Asian Thinkers (2018); "Afghanistan: The Vulnerabilities of Minorities," in Sajjad Hassan (ed.), South Asia State of Minorities Report 2016: Mapping the Terrain (2016); and "Rethinking Stability for Afghanistan: Socializing Great Powers in a Multilateral Order," in Rajen Harshe and Dhananjay Tripathi (eds), Afghanistan Post-2014: Power Configurations and Evaluating Trajectories (2015).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Asia / India & South Asia
HISTORY / Middle East / General
HISTORY / Military / Afghan War (2001-)
HISTORY / Asia / Central Asia
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / World / Middle Eastern
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies