Patrons, brothers and landlords: competing for the vote in rural Pakistan

Mohmand, Shandana Khan (2011) Patrons, brothers and landlords: competing for the vote in rural Pakistan. Doctoral thesis (DPhil), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

How do citizens vote in rural Pakistan, and how much agency do they have in
relation to local landlords, patrons and kinship networks in making electoral
decisions? I explore this question in this dissertation through an empirical
investigation of the voting behaviour of Pakistan’s rural majority in its most
populous and politically important province, Punjab, using a mix of qualitative and
quantitative methods and original data on the voting behaviour of about 2300
households in 38 villages.

The results of this dissertation counter the notions that rural Punjabi voters are
dependent and that national elections can be won on the basis of extended kinship
networks. My data reveals that the dependence of rural voters that so captivates
popular discourse about Pakistani politics describes only about 7 percent of voters,
and that kinship networks function more as forums for local collective action than
as extended political organisations. I found that a vast majority of rural Punjabi
citizens vote as members of village-level vote blocs that are organised by the landed
village elite. Nevertheless, most rural Punjabi voters do not participate in vote blocs
because of socio-economic dependence. Instead, I found that they are benefitseeking
political actors who organise within their kinship networks to strengthen
their bargaining position and then give their collective votes to vote bloc leaders
who act as broker-patrons and provide access to state officials and services. I also
found that voting behaviour varies significantly across villages and across
households within the same village. Most of the variation between villages is
explained by differences in social structure and varying levels of historical and
current land inequality, while the fact that households that lie within the same
village behave differently from one another is explained mainly by their wealth and
caste status.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: Institute of Development Studies
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DS History of Asia > DS376 Pakistan
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General) > JF0020 General. Comparative government
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2011 11:57
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2015 12:12
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/6956

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