ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Resistance and Its Limits

Protesting Urban Violence in Lyari, Karachi

Lyari, one of the oldest neighbourhoods of Karachi, has been the site of ongoing violence for most of the past two decades. This paper explores the impacts of the ongoing conflict involving criminal gangs, political parties and state security forces. Residents have adopted tactics and strategies ranging from negotiation to active resistance in response to the varied forms of everyday violence. Specifically focusing on street protests between 2012 and 2014, it evaluates the possibilities and limitations of protest in the context of urban violence. More broadly, it argues that studies of urban violence need to move away from viewing the urban poor as exclusively clientelistic or insurgent. It argues that acts of resistance in the form of protest are constrained, determined by, and productive of particular configurations of power.

I would like to thank the Lahore University of Management Sciences for supporting my research through the Faculty Initiative Fund. I would also like to thank Sameer Mandhro and Ayla Shahid for their valuable assistance with the research and writing. I am grateful to Amen Jaffer and Anant Maringanti for providing valuable comments and suggestions. Finally, I would like to thank all my friends in Lyari for sharing their experiences and insights with me. The responsibility for the fi nal composition of the article and the ideas presented within it, however, rest with me.

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Updated On : 16th Mar, 2017
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