Geopolitics, identity, and discourse analysis of conflict in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

Document Type : Original Article


Ph.D. research scholar in development studies at the Lisbon School of Economics and Management (ISEG), University of Lisbon, Portugal.


In the post 9/11, the discursive construction of identity through discourses has become a norm in international politics in justifying foreign policies. What makes us believe is the interpretation given by dominant discourse through text, speeches, or media. Discourses not only construct a narrative on the national and international front but also rationalize certain policies and make other unthinkable. This is how it happened in Pakistan’s tribal areas[1]. The Pashtun social and cultural identity is mispresented through mainstream discourse as a cause of the conflict both in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Drawing on Lene Hansen post-structuralist discourse theory, this paper questions Pakistan''s mainstream discourse and evaluates how and why Pashtun social identity is discursively co-constituted in post 9/11? The paper argues that the discursive construction of Pashtun’s identity not only rationalizes geopolitics but also justifies the ongoing conflict in the tribal areas. The paper further argues that the prolonged conflict in the region should be understood as a regional power struggle for serving their geostrategic objective. 

[1]. Recently merged into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and known as “Khyber Pakhtunkhwa tribal districts”. But still in academic literature, the region is referring as “tribal areas”.


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Volume 15, Issue 56 - Serial Number 56
January 2020
Pages 122-145
  • Receive Date: 24 November 2019
  • Revise Date: 09 December 2019
  • Accept Date: 10 December 2019
  • First Publish Date: 22 December 2019