Assembling Marginality in Northern Pakistan

Karrar, Hasan H.; Mostowlansky, Till (2018). Assembling Marginality in Northern Pakistan. Political geography, 63, pp. 65-74. Elsevier 10.1016/j.polgeo.2018.01.005

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This article illustrates how Gilgit-Baltistan in northern Pakistan—bordering Afghanistan, China, and India—has been part of an “assemblage of marginality” since the region was incorporated in 1947 and 1948. We situate our case amidst recent scholarship that seeks to go beyond mere location at the territorial limits of the nation-state as the defining feature of a border area. In addition, we emphasize the temporal aspects of how marginality in Gilgit-Baltistan has been assembled through four constituent processes: (1) the continuity of the colonial legacy in the western Himalaya, poignantly highlighted by the ongoing dispute between India and Pakistan that has resulted in Gilgit-Baltistan's constitutionally ambiguous status today; (2) the pervasiveness of nationalist histories and cultural tropes about Gilgit-Baltistan that have been constructed for the post-colonial state; (3) a local political economy subservient to a centralist agenda that has been amplified by the introduction of the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC); (4) the formation of local identities in Gilgit-Baltistan, marked by exclusion from the state, which offers insights into marginality as identity. In sum, we argue that this assemblage of marginality goes far beyond Gilgit-Baltistan and provides ample points of comparison with marginal spaces in other locations around the globe.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute for the Science of Religion

UniBE Contributor:

Mostowlansky, Till


200 Religion








Michaela Wisler

Date Deposited:

27 Jun 2019 11:55

Last Modified:

23 Oct 2019 14:10

Publisher DOI:





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