The Performance of Emotion Among Paxtun Women: "the Misfortunes which Have Befallen Me"
Sharing tales of misfortune is a common practice among women in many cultures. Among the Paxtun, an Islamic, Paxto-speaking group living in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, these stories of grief or sadness (gham) are a vital medium of exchange, through which relationships are formed and maintained. Indeed, as Benedicte Grima asserts in this engrossing study, performing these rituals of grief and suffering largely defines what it means to be an honorable Paxtun woman.
Drawing on fieldwork conducted over the period 1978-1987, Grima shows how the performance of gham is the female counterpart of better-known male obligations (such as revenge killing) that maintain family standing and honor. Her research includes both life histories ("the misfortunes which have befallen me") and illness and misfortune narratives, as well as the contexts in which these stories are normally recounted. Her access to different levels of Paxtun society provides a broad picture of how this ritual grieving is performed throughout the culture.
Based on the premise that emotions are not spontaneous and involuntary, but rather culturally taught and performed, this work uses emotion to illuminate the construction of female identity in Paxtun and Islamic culture. In addition to its obvious audiences in Middle Eastern and women's studies, it will be important to everyone working in the ethnography of communication, performance analysis, and the anthropology of emotion.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Other editions - View all
affect Afghan Afghanistan Ahmadi Banda Alef Jan Anyway asked audience ayah badal Badri Aram behavior birth brother Catherine Lutz Chapter context cried cultural daughter death discourse emic emotion rituals ethnography ethnopoetics exchange expected expression father friends genres gham gham-xddi gifts girls grief Grima guest hardship honor household husband informant Islam Jan's kana khabare Khan khapa Khattak khoshal Kohat lament landeys language lives Madyan male marriage married means men's misfortune Moambar Mohammad Moshtaq mother Muslim Naranja narrator Naseema NWFP one's Pakistan parda paxto Paxtun women perceived performance person Peshawar poetry qessa Rahman Baba rawdj reciprocity relations romances sadness shari'at sharm Sher Banu Shi'ite sister social someone sorrow speech status story suffering Swat Swati ta'zieh taklif talking tapos narrative tapos visit tell tion told village visitor wayl wedding woman word xddi