Published in 1987
In no region of the world have changes in religion and ethnic identity had a greater impact on political life than in the three countries that are the subject of this volume. The book examines the changing relationship of the state, religion, and ethnicity in three contiguous, non-Arab, Muslim countries in Southwest Asia. A central theme of the book is the importance of ethnolinguistic and religious identities, and the corresponding weakness of nationalism as the basis of civil society in all three countries.
To what extent the present ruling elites--the military in Pakistan, the People's Democratic Party in Afghanistan, and the clerical establishment in Iran--will succeed in their efforts to create strong states in societies where political institutions do not cut across diverse religious, ethnic, and class divisions is a major question raised by this volume.
This collection of essays by an outstanding group of anthropologists, historians, political scientists, and Islamicists is one of the first attempts to look at the issues of the state, religion, and ethnic politics from a comparative and historical perspective.