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Socialities of Indignation: Denouncing Party Politics in Karachi

By Tania Ahmad

Cite As:
Ahmad, Tania. 2014. “Socialities of Indignation: Denouncing Party Politics in Karachi.” Cultural Anthropology 29, no. 2: 411–432.


In May 2007, in the aftermath of city-wide urban unrest mediated by live news television, Karachi residents clamored noisily, using rumors, blogs, and SMS texting to overtly denounce the violence and intimidation ploys of political parties. Their discourse took a particular form: it described the violent tactics of organized politics as repulsive, suggested the moral respectability of avoiding such party politics, and, most important, articulated the impetus to domestic confinement—being compelled to stay at home—as a shared experience. Rather than conflate the discursive content of non-participation with depoliticization, it is important to acknowledge the contingent sociality of recognizing and articulating domestic confinement as a shared experience through the indignant denunciation of political institutions. Such tactics invoke an emergent public that recuperates and politicizes the ordinary in an explicitly moral register.


participation; violence; depoliticization; publics