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The Performance of Emotion among Paxtun Women: "The Misfortunes Which Have Befallen Me"

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195978810
ISBN-10: 0195978811
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About the Author

Benedicte Grima is Pashto Instructor at University of Pennsylvania.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (August 18, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195978811
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195978810
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.9 x 5.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,938 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Heather Caunt on February 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
When discussing the Paxtuns, a major ethnic group which straddles the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, one thing that scholars are keen to mention is paxtunwali, the Paxtun code of morality and honor. There is a Paxtun proverb that refers to the paxtunwali, which says ?you don?t speak Paxto; you do paxto.? But what does doing paxto entail? More often than not, the description of what it means to do paxto has come from a male scholar who studied among male Paxtuns. Hospitality (melmastia), right to refuge (nanawati), and revenge (badal) are the three precepts of the paxtunwali as they are traditionally understood.
But Benedicte Grima, as a female anthropologist and folklorist, was allowed access to the world of female Paxtuns, which had received far less attention than the more public male sphere. She argues that men and women have different ways of carrying out the paxtunwali, especially in terms of badal. Women consider it to be keeping badal when they visit one another in order to inquire about events that have recently taken place, as well as when they give each other gifts. Badal should therefore be understood more in terms of general reciprocity in social relationships, rather than just as blood feuds.
It is on these visits of inquiry that most of Grima?s ethnography focuses. She uses Dell Hymes? model of the ethnography of communication to focus on a speech event called tapos, which literally means ?to inquire? to Paxtun men, but is defined by women as making a personal visit to the female head of a household to ask about an illness or other misfortune. During each of these visits, there is a performance of a woman-to-woman speech genre. The women share stories of the misfortunes of their families in great detail, while following a sort of genre formula.
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By AK on December 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Few good books have been written about the Pashtuns, fewer about Pashtun women and their subculture. This is a good addition to the documentation of this fast changing and secretive culture.
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