Date

2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Department

Sociology

First Adviser

Ceron-Anaya, Hugo

Other advisers/committee members

Whitehouse, Bruce

Abstract

Pashtuns have been politically dominant in Afghanistan for over 300 years, and this has led non-Pashtun ethnic groups to develop grievances and share a common identity, non-Pashtun. The present study analyzes the relationship between ethnic identity and nationalism in Pashtun and non-Pashtun Afghan Fulbright students in the United States and Afghanistan. No empirical research on ethnicity and nationalism in Afghanistan was found in the review of literature. This is the first study to answer how the notion non-Pashtun is constructed in Afghanistan by applying a mixed-method research methodology. The findings suggested that “non-Pashtun” is a pan-ethnic identity, which allows members of non-Pashtun ethnic groups to distinguish themselves from Pashtuns. Non-Pashtuns negotiate their individual ethnic identity by adding the “non-Pashtun” pan-ethnic layer to remove the fear of continuous domination and exclusion by the Pashtuns. Last, the research adds information regarding the role of modernization in construction of the “non-Pashtun” pan-ethnic layer.

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