How do anthropologists define a social problem? Discuss the cause and consequences of political instability in Pakistan.

How-do-anthropologists-define-a-social-problem-Discuss-the-cause-and-consequences-of-political-instability-in-Pakistan

CSS Solved Anthropology Past Papers | How do anthropologists define a social problem? Discuss the cause and consequences of political instability in Pakistan.

Assad Hamid, the highest scorer in the CSS Anthropology paper, attempts the following question. The answer is written on the same pattern, taught by Sir to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory subjects for years. This solved past paper question is uploaded to help aspirants understand how to crack a topic or question, how to write relevantly, what coherence is, and how to include and connect ideas, opinions, and suggestions to score the maximum. 

Breakdown:

This question has two parts but there is a difference in the importance of both parts. In the first part we would briefly define the social problem from the perspective of Anthropologists. In the second part we will discuss the causes and consequences of political instability in Pakistan.

Outline

1- Introduction

2- Anthropologists’ definition of Social Problem

3- Anthropologists’ view on Political instability in Pakistan

4- Causes of Political Instability in Pakistan

  • ✓Ethnic and Tribal tensions
  • ✓Sectarianism and Religious extremism
  • ✓Economic inequality
  • ✓Political corruption
  • ✓Foreign interference

5- Consequences of Political Instability in Pakistan

  • ✓Marginalization of Minority Communities
  • ✓Rise of Extremism
  • ✓Social Fragmentation
  • ✓Displacement and Migration
  • ✓Lack of social services

6- Conclusion

Answer to the Question

Introduction

The concept of political instability in Pakistan has been studied by anthropologists from various perspectives. Anthropologists recognize that political instability is not an objective, universal phenomenon but rather a product of social construction and interpretation. The causes of political instability in Pakistan are multifaceted and include ethnic and tribal tension, sectarianism, religious extremism, economic inequality, political corruption, foreign interference, and the legacy of colonialism. These factors contribute to social fragmentation, marginalization of minority communities, the rise of extremism, lack of social services, and displacement and migration. Anthropologists study the cultural, economic, political, and historical factors that contribute to the emergence and persistence of political instability in Pakistan.

Anthropologists’ definition of Social Problem

Anthropologists define a social problem as an issue or challenge that affects the well-being and functioning of a society or community. Social problems are often characterized by a gap between the way things are and the way they should be, and they are seen as having negative consequences for individuals and the broader social system.

Anthropologists approach social problems from a cultural perspective, recognizing that what constitutes a social problem is shaped by cultural values, norms, and beliefs. They also recognize that social problems are not objective, universal phenomena, but are rather the product of social construction and interpretation. Anthropologists study social problems by examining the cultural, economic, political, and historical factors that contribute to their emergence and persistence.

Anthropologists use a range of methods to study social problems, including ethnographic research, participant observation, interviews, and surveys. Through these methods, anthropologists seek to understand the causes and consequences of social problems, as well as the ways in which they are understood and addressed by different groups within a society or community.

Anthropological view on Political Instability

Anthropologists have studied political instability in various societies and have developed different perspectives on the topic. Some of the key viewpoints are:

  • Cultural relativism:

Anthropologists who subscribe to cultural relativism argue that political instability cannot be understood outside of its cultural context. They emphasize that what may be considered “instability” in one society may be normal or even desirable in another.

  • Historical perspective:

Anthropologists who take a historical perspective on political instability view it as a product of specific historical circumstances. They argue that the roots of instability often lie in colonialism, economic exploitation, and other forms of oppression.

  • Structural perspective:

Anthropologists who adopt a structural perspective view political instability as a result of structural inequalities and power imbalances within society. They argue that political instability is often driven by social and economic inequality and that addressing these underlying issues is necessary to address instability.

  • Agency and resistance:

Some anthropologists view political instability as a form of agency and resistance by marginalized groups who are excluded from formal political processes. They argue that instability can be a way for these groups to assert their rights and demand change.

Political Instability in Pakistan: Cause

  • Ethnic and Tribal Tension

Pakistan is a highly diverse country, with many different ethnic and linguistic groups. Tribal affiliations and loyalties can be strong, and some groups may feel marginalized or excluded from political power. This leads to conflicts and tensions between different groups and contribute to political instability.

  • Sectarianism and Religious extremism:

Pakistan is a diverse country with various religious and sectarian groups, including Sunni and Shia Muslims, Christians, Hindus, and Sikhs. Sectarian conflicts often erupt, leading to violence and instability.

Pakistan has also been grappling with a rise in religious extremism in recent years, which has been linked to a number of high-profile acts of violence and terrorism. This can create a climate of fear and insecurity, and make it difficult for the government to maintain stability and control.

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  • Economic inequality

Pakistan has high levels of poverty and economic inequality, which can create social tensions and fuel political instability. There is a significant wealth gap, with the majority of the population living in poverty while a small minority controls most of the country’s wealth. This inequality can fuel social and political unrest. When large segments of the population feel marginalized or excluded from economic opportunities, they may turn to more radical or extremist political movements as a means of expressing their grievances.

  • Political corruption

Corruption is a pervasive problem in Pakistan, and can undermine political stability by eroding public trust in government institutions and leaders. This can lead to protests, strikes, and other forms of civil unrest.

  • Foreign interference

Pakistan is located in a geopolitically strategic location, and it has a complex relationship with its neighbors, particularly India and Afghanistan. Foreign interference, both overt and covert, can exacerbate political instability in Pakistan.

  • Colonial Past

The instability can be traced back to the legacy of colonialism in the region. Pakistan was a British colony until 1947, and the colonial period had a profound impact on the country’s political and social structures. During colonialism, the British implemented a system of indirect rule in the region, which relied on local elites to maintain control. This created a system of power and privilege that excluded many groups from political participation, leading to social and economic inequality.

Political Instability in Pakistan: Consequences

Political instability in Pakistan can disrupt tribal structures, marginalize minority communities, create economic instability, leading to the rise of extremism, and cause social fragmentation.

  • Marginalization of Minority Communities

Political instability can lead to the marginalization of minority communities, as powerful groups seek to consolidate their power and influence. This can lead to discrimination, exclusion, and even violence against these communities.

  • Rise of Extremism

Political instability could create an environment that is conducive to the rise of extremism. When people feel marginalized and disenfranchised, they may turn to extremist ideologies as a way of expressing their grievances.

  • Lack of social services

Political instability has contributed to a lack of investment in social services, including education and healthcare, which has further impacted the well-being of the population.

  • Social Fragmentation

Political instability could lead to social fragmentation, where different groups within society become more isolated from one another. This can lead to a breakdown in social cohesion and trust, which can further exacerbate the effects of political instability.

  • Displacement and Migration

Political instability in Pakistan would force people to leave their homes and migrate to other areas or countries to lack of safety and security of life and property. This can result in the displacement of large numbers of people, leading to significant social, economic, and political consequences.

Conclusion

In conclusion, anthropologists define social problems as issues that negatively affect a society or community, and they study these problems from a cultural perspective. Anthropologists use various methods to study social problems, and their insights are important for understanding and addressing the complex challenges faced by societies and communities around the world. Political instability in Pakistan is a complex social problem with multiple causes and severe consequences. It is caused by factors such as ethnic and tribal tension, sectarianism and religious extremism, economic inequality, political corruption, and foreign interference. The consequences of political instability in Pakistan are many, including the disruption of tribal structures, marginalization of minority communities, the rise of extremism, social fragmentation, and displacement and migration.

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