Struggling for Reconstruction: Houses, Homes
and “the State” after the Earthquake in
Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir.
In: Scrutiny, Vol. 5/6: pp. 33-51
In this paper I think of the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan and Azad Kashmir as an “empirical window” on society providing insights into “common” rather than “exceptional” social processes, practices and power relations. With reference to my ethnographic fieldwork in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Azad Kashmir, I deal with local actors’ perspectives and practices related to the destruction and reconstruction of houses and homes in the earthquake’s aftermath. As an emic category of social practice in society “home” (ghar) refers to flexible arrangements of people, places, things and values, which are closely related to structures and processes of the larger society and the state. Rather than presenting final results, the paper points to some initial analysis of material, social and political processes of house and home examining how social actors re-construct and re-negotiate houses and homes in daily life and thereby struggle over values and resources visà-vis state reconstruction policies and activities targeting the house and home.