Political Legitimacy and Economic Resources: An Anthropological Perspective on the Reconstruction of Afghanistan

-A Lecture by: Alessandro Monsutti
Boston University GSU, Terrace Lounge-

monsuttiThis talk will examine the impact of transnational networks on local power games in Afghanistan in order to explain how the political economy of conflicts and post-conflicts is influenced by the circulation of external resources. Four main phenomena will be distinguished: the outside military support to the government as well as to the insurgents; the smuggling networks and drug trafficking; the involvement of the refugees and of the members of the wider diaspora in the Afghan political life; the role of humanitarian organizations and development experts in the reconstruction of the country. The last aspect will receive more attention through the study the National Solidarity Programme (NSP), a joint venture of the Government of Afghanistan and the World Bank which aims to rehabilitate and develop the rural regions of the country. The consistency of such an approach derives from a single methodological and theoretical premise: that a better understanding of how goods and know-how circulate sheds light on the power relations. When the state is weak, certain individuals, groups or institutions gain control over material as well as immaterial resources and their redistribution. This allows them to increase their political influences and constituencies. In this context, Dr. Monsutti will revisit the traditional notion of the state in order to highlight new forms of sovereignty and legitimacy related to the consolidation of transnational networks.

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