Pakistan Workshop 2020

12-14 June 2020

Consumption and Change

With ‘Consumption ‎& Change’ in the focus of this year´s workshop, we hope to stimulate contributions from different disciplines and engage in discussion among different fields. We invite scholars to reflect on the processes of change in consumption patterns in Pakistan, their everyday impacts, as well as specific subjects of consumption, and the socio-economic contexts of consumption.

Arguably, the act of consumption, as well as the very subject of consumption form significant points of everyday life. Characterised by a particularly wide variety of socioeconomic realities, studying consumption in Pakistan offers an exciting range of topics to discuss. What role(s) do(es) the act of consumption in a material, as well as an abstract sense play in everyday life in Pakistan? How do changing patterns of consumption correlate with socioeconomic realities, how are these changes negotiated in different contexts, and who has the authority (if at all) to direct the way consumption patterns change? How does this authority, or these authorities, play their role of generating and shaping – i.e. by encouraging, discouraging, allowing, forbidding, or ‘tabooing’ the consumption of contents, ideas, or material objects – consumption change in Pakistan?

In this workshop we are interested in the means and processes of change in consumption, the ways these changes are communicated, and the role of the ‘authority’ in generating, accepting, tolerating, or rejecting such changes in the Pakistani context. We encourage discussions on ‘the allowed’, ‘the recommended’ or ‘the forbidden’ subjects of consumption, the age- and gendered aspects of consumption, as well as the authoriti(es) shaping consumption patterns, and the impact of change in consumption patterns in everyday contexts, among others.

The Pakistan Workshop 2020 invites academics conducting research on Pakistan and the Pakistani diaspora to submit abstracts around the theme ‘Consumption ‎& Change’. Nevertheless, this field as the theme for the workshop is only a guide to encourage submissions around this area. You may submit an abstract of your paper even if it does not coincide with this theme, but would be of interest to those working on Pakistan.

The Workshop is now a well established annual event in the Lake District that attracts scholars and practitioners from a variety of disciplines who all share an interest in Pakistan, Pakistani Diaspora and Muslims of South Asia. The Workshop was founded in 1986 by a group of anthropologists, but over the years has welcomed political scientists, theologians, historians, literary scholars, economists, linguists, diplomats, psychologists, medical researchers, missionaries and others. It is a small, residential Workshop in which participants have an opportunity to really get to know one another and exchange ideas in a relaxed and constructive environment. Every year, we select a theme for the Workshop and we advertise that theme as a way of attracting a new audience. We expect that the theme will account for two or three dedicated thematic panels during the Workshop (8-12 papers). The rest of the Workshop is normally devoted to participants discussing current research that might benefit from careful scrutiny from a group of people who share a passion for understanding Pakistan and its people better. All participants are asked to provide the full text of their papers (maximum 10K words) for pre-circulation to all registered participants by 29 May 2020.


The Pakistan Workshop is grateful to the Aga Khan University-Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations for providing support for the this year’s Workshop.

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