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The Structural Determinants of the Urban Ethnic and Political Violence in Pakistan

Waheed Ahmed Abbasi1, Asma Islam2 & Hyder Ali Memon3

In Pakistan, ethnic and political violence between different social groups is the result of disordered social conditions caused by inadequate political policies and economic imbalances. Violent confrontations and violent responses become a way of life for people, ultimately shaping a culture of violence, in the absence of equal and proper distribution of social advantages. The major aim of this study is to find out why people select violent behavior and how they explain their lives and motivational reasons. This goal was met through interviewing convicted violent offenders held in various jails throughout Sindh. Their shared experiences and accounts analyzed through a thematic analytical process provided vital insight into why and how they felt inspired to pursue violent activities. Thematic analysis of the prisoners’ narratives found that those from urban communities were more affected by social disparities, unclear employment prospects, political situations, and ethnic and political conflicts. The convicted inmates described how severely participants blamed their social circumstances for their murders, injuries, and participation in violent assaults. They did not believe that their acts of violence were ethically wrong, but rather that they were justified. In this regard, violence became a cultural response and a justified act.

Keywords: structural determinants, ethnic, political, violence, narratives,
convicted prisoners