Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Avram Bornstein

Committee Members

Vincent Crapanzano

Katherine Verdery

Subject Categories

Social and Cultural Anthropology


Emotions, Memory, Pakistan, Hegemony, Class, Social Movements


This dissertation is an ethnographic examination of how political emotions, historical memory and notion(s) of the rule of law are mobilized in postcolonial Pakistan. It examines how liberal legality (the rule of law, judiciary and courts) and discourses of rights have become popular hegemonic languages for mobilizing political protests and legal claims in South Asia. In particular, the dissertation studies a protest movement, the Lawyers’ Movement for the Restoration of Judiciary and Democracy (2007-09), that was led by the lawyers and their allied educated and professional middle-classes, and investigates how the lawyers successfully galvanized Pakistanis against the then prevalent military rule by formulating appeals to the rule of law and constitutionalism and led their historic bloc to restore the higher judiciary. Famously defined as the societies in which colonial law exercised only domination and never hegemony, this dissertation further examines how liberal legality and rights discourses have, in fact, become hegemonic and while managing populations and emotions, they have also enabled new sites of popular mobilization, protest and agitation in postcolonial South Asia.