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Production and domination: Afghanistan, 1747-1901

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Production and domination: Afghanistan, 1747-1901
Ashraf Ghani


Department of Anthropology, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.


My objective in this work is to provide an anthopo1ogica1 analysis of the historical processes through which structures of production and domination were reproduced as a totality from 1747 to 1901 in the present territory of Afghanistan. To bring the changing articulation of structures in the total system into sharper relief I have opted for a combination of temporal and spatial frameworks.

The period from 1747 to 1901 forms the unit of long duration for the first part of the study. Within that period, depending on the changes in one or several of the elements within a structure, I have chosen an appropriate conjunctural unit - such as 1840-1901 for the changes in the system of inter-territorial communication - to highlight the relevant changes. In part two I deal with two main units of long-duration, roughly 1500-1722 and 1747- 1901. The choice of the conjunctural units within each of these periods is, again, determined by changes in the systematic relations among elements composing the structure. Thus, for changes in the patterns of long-distance trade, the years 1500-1622 are demarcated as being significantly different from the following one hundred years. The second unit of long-duration, being the main focus of analysis and an era of rapid restructuring and destructuring, is broken into four conjunctural units: 1747-1818; 1826-1839; 1843-1878; and 1880-1901.

Spatially, instead of taking the whole territory of the state as the unit of analysis I have focused on six regions. Within each of these regions I distinguish between central and marginal ecological zones and then explore the interrelations among these elements within regional, inter-regional and inter-territorial units.

In the first part of the study I provide an analysis of geography and ecology; labor-process and technical organization of production in agriculture; social organization of production; and circulation, transportation, and markets. In the second part I first provide an historical overview of the social relations and then analyze the formation and reproduction of the Afghan state. In each chapter the relevant theoretical literature is discussed and in the conclusion the interrelation between structures of production and domination is viewed from a comparative perspective.