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Big Capital in an Unequal World: The Micropolitics of Wealth in Pakistan

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Volume 29


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Big Capital in an Unequal World

The Micropolitics of Wealth in Pakistan

Rosita Armytage

206 pages, 2 illus., bilbiog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-616-6 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (January 2020)

ISBN  978-1-80073-633-7 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Not Yet Published (January 2023)

eISBN 978-1-78920-617-3 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit  Buy the eBook! $34.95info on epub formatRequest a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“This is a fascinating ethnography of the ‘micro-politics of elite lives’…a depressing but important read and a necessary corrective to every study of Pakistan that concludes with an aspirational list of policy reforms.” • Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (JRAI)

“Through remarkable access, rich descriptions, and incisive analyses, the author deepens our understanding of the reproduction of elites and inequalities. She provides important insights into the spaces and relationships through which capital is accumulated, channeled, and secured by elites, all the while taking seriously the question of gender, ‘race,’ nation, and sexuality as it relates to class formation. Her book provides a rich resource for future research to explore old and new forms of elite integration and division…In an increasingly interdependent and unequal world, books like this enable us to better understand the consequences of elite formations for all of our lives.” • FOCAAL

“Rosita Armytage has compiled a fascinating ethnography of elite businessmen and their families in Pakistan…[Her] work is a carefully constructed and nuanced picture of elites in Pakistan, enlivened by her rich ethnographic content which is used skilfully to illustrate wider findings… a nuanced and thoroughly contextualised piece of research.” • Bloomsbury Pakistan

“A rich, very insightful and highly engaging biography of Pakistan’s business and industrial elite.” • Nafisa Shah, Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan.

“An entertaining, surprising, and lively account of the secret life of the global elite in their particular parochial Pakistani setting. Scholars of Pakistan, of economic and political anthropology, and of development, will all surely look forward to this book with eager anticipation.” • Caroline Schuster, Australian National University


Following the hidden lives of the global “1%”, this book examines the networks, social practices, marriages, and machinations of the elite in Pakistan. In doing so, it reveals the daily, even mundane, ways in which elites contribute to and shape the inequality that characterizes the modern world. Operating in a rapidly developing economic environment, the experience of Pakistan’s wealthiest and most powerful members contradicts widely held assumptions that economic growth is leading to increasingly impersonalized and globally standardized economic and political structures.

Rosita Armytage is an anthropologist specialising in elites, social class, capitalism, and global development. Her recent publications include ‘Elite ethnography in an insecure place: The methodological implications of “studying up” in Pakistan’, Focaal - Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology (2018).

Subject: Political and Economic AnthropologyAnthropology (General)
Area: Asia


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