Book Launch. Political Kinship in Pakistan:

Descent, Marriage & Government Stability

January 22, 2020
6:00 pm-8:00 pm | London

Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations

In Political Kinship in Pakistan, Stephen M. Lyon illustrates how contemporary politics in Pakistan are built on complex kinship networks created through marriage and descent relations. Lyon points to kinship as a critical mechanism for understanding both Pakistan’s continued inability to develop strong and stable governments, and its incredible durability in the face of pressures that have led to the collapse and failure of other states around the world. Building on nearly four decades of engagement with Pakistan, this book weaves together detailed ethnographic analyses of village politics with the volatile world of national electoral office holders and their families. 

Stephen Lyon and Nichola Khan will have a conversation moderated by Sanaa Alimia about the themes addressed in the book and the wider implications for the study of politics, culture and the state.


Stephen M. Lyon is Professor of Anthropology and Head of Educational Programmes at the Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations in London. He has carried out extensive fieldwork in rural and urban Pakistan and has authored numerous publications on kinship, politics, education, religion and development.

Nichola Khan is Reader in Anthropology and Psychology and the Director of the Centre for Spatial, Environmental and Cultural Politics, in the School of Applied Social Science at the University of Brighton. Her innovative interdisciplinary research draws on three related fields: violence and conflict in Pakistan’s megacity of Karachi; war and Afghan refugee migration in Pakistan and Britain; psychological anthropology. She is the author of numerous publications including,  Mohajir Militancy in Pakistan (2010 Routledge). She is also the author of Cityscapes of Violence in Karachi (2017, ed, Hurst & Co., Oxford University Press) of Arc of the Journeymen: Afghan Migrants in England (2020, forthcoming, University of Minnesota Press), and of numerous articles on the politics of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Sanaa Alimia (AKU-ISMC) is a political scientist specialising in migration in modern South Asia. She holds a PhD from SOAS, London and an MSc from the LSE. Her current research interests focus on surveillance, governance, and population control in the modern Muslim world. She is the author of a forthcoming manuscript, “Afghan Refugees in Pakistan 1978-2018,” University of Pennsylvania Press. She is also the author of numerous journal articles, working papers, and policy papers. She also makes regular contributions to print, online, and radio media and participates actively in conferences, workshops, and local community events.


This event is free but booking is essential. Book as soon as possible.

The book is available for purchase on Rowman & Littlefield website.

The talk will be followed by a reception.


Atrium Conference Room,
Aga Khan Centre,
10 Handyside Street,
London N1C 4DN