Between the metropole and the postcolony: On the dynamics of rights' machinery from the northwestern tribal belt to the "mainland" Pakistan

Nasir M. A.

ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING D-SOCIETY & SPACE, cilt.33, sa.6, ss.1003-1021, 2015 (SSCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi) identifier identifier

  • Yayın Türü: Makale / Tam Makale
  • Cilt numarası: 33 Konu: 6
  • Basım Tarihi: 2015
  • Doi Numarası: 10.1177/0263775815595815
  • Sayfa Sayıları: ss.1003-1021


Recent analyses have critically evaluated the connection of abstract rights with territorial nation-states. This article extends those findings by analyzing the way discourses of rights (human, political, national) are interconnected. It is argued that the system of relations that rights establish between their norms and concrete sociopolitical practices allows rights to function as overall machinery, one that both produces and governs subjects. From this perspective, this article establishes that: (a) since rights depend for their legal guarantee on the power of nation-states, they are a normative standard which coincides with the political power of a nation-state; (b) since rights require a certain ethic from subjects in order that their exercise of rights be legally protectable, they govern subjects through inclusion, that is, by structuring fields of action in order that a certain proper conduct may take place; (c) since the nation-state framework with which rights are connected operates in a postcolonial order, the functioning of rights is also connected with the discursive dynamics of postcoloniality. The empirical focus of the discussion is on Pakistan. The first section focuses on the use of human rights' discourse in order to counter drone attacks in Pakistan's tribal belt. The conundrums that human rights in this context generate are then filled in by acknowledging rights of a state (i.e. political sovereignty and territorial integrity), which is the focus of second section. The third section comments on the way national and political rights correspond to the notions of citizenship and belongingness, which in turn shapes the conduct of subjects in a contextually apt manner.