The Social Sciences and Liberal Arts Department at the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi hosted a talk by scholar and researcher Dr. Ayesha Siddiqi on her recent book 'In the Wake of Disaster: Islamists, the State and a Social Contract in Pakistan'.
Dr. Siddiqi who is visiting from Royal Holloway, University of London is trained in the discipline of human geography but described her work as being very inter-disciplinary in nature. Her talk presented key findings from the book.
The book is based on Dr. Siddiqi's doctoral dissertation research conducted in the aftermath of the massive floods that devastated parts of Pakistan in 2010 and 2011. She spent seven-month in lower Sindh doing ethnographic fieldwork in three districts, Thatta, Badin, and Tharparkar, hoping to understand how natural disasters leave a political impact. Most communities devastated by the flooding continued to have high expectations from the state and expressed their belief that only the state is responsible for helping them, rather than local power-brokers and traditional sources of authority. The speaker argued that the common assumptions about broken state-society relations in Pakistan are unfounded and that her informants' views show a robust social contract being present.
She also showed how the government's cash disbursement to flood-affected communities created a sense...