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Niamatullah Ibrahimi "Peaceful Activism and Contentious Politics in Post-Taliban Afghanistan"

Wednesday, October 28, 2015 at the School of Global and International Studies, Niamatullah Ibrahimi gave a lecture on, “Peaceful Activism and Contentious Politics in Post-Taliban Afghanistan.” Niamatullah Ibrahimi has a B.S. in International relations from LSE, is a PhD candidate in the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy at The Australian National University, and is currently visiting Indiana University as an ANU-IU Pan-Asia Institute Doctoral Fellow. His talk was sponsored by the ANU-IU Pan Asia Institute, the Department of Central Eurasian Studies, the Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center, the Center for the Study of the Middle East, and the Center on American and Global Security.

Ibrahimi’s presentation focused on non-violent political movements in Afghanistan during the post-Taliban government era. He outlined four sizable groups in Afghanistan that have emerged into Afghani political life since 2001. His remarks were preliminary as they involved his ongoing research. Ibrahimi enframes Afghani socio-political movements primarily as collective action that elaborates and appropriates cultural symbols in the construction and performance of an identity for both itself as a group, and other members of the society in which it is embedded. This perspective is not exclusive to other strategies for figuring social movements, such as the appropriation and mobilization of resources as well as a process oriented conceptualization of political engagement.

Ibrahimi developed his argument using interviews with the founders of social movements, journalists, other actors, and an analysis of on and offline propaganda. He concluded that social movements in Afghanistan must bridge discourses: both in terms of group-particular and grounding dialogues, and more encompassing concerns within Afghanistan and the international community. These discourses are identified as group focused or internal, nationalist and ethno-nationalist, Islam and religious, and Left leaning ideologies and political discourses.