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Structure and Dynamics

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Ties That Bind:Marital Networks and Politics in Punjab, Pakistan


Pakistani politics are characterised by strong corporate social links through kinship and caste that impose reciprocal obligations and rights. Marital maps enable allow for accurate prediction of allegiances and decision making and contribute to a transparent assessment of political processes in the country. While much of the focus on reciprocal relations has understandably been on descent relations (dynasties), the complex network of marital alliances that cut across lineage and sectarian divides helps explain notable levels of stability despite the fragility of the state and other public institutions. Using the example of one of the most successful political dynasties in post independence Pakistan, we show the extent of cross lineage, region and even party alliances that shape this political kinship network.

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