Dying to Serve: Militarism, Affect, and the Politics of Sacrifice in the Pakistan Army (South Asia in Motion)

October 30, 2020
Dying to Serve: Militarism, Affect, and the Politics of Sacrifice in the Pakistan Army (South Asia in Motion)

The Pakistan Army is a uniquely powerful and influentialinstitution, with vast landholdings and resources. It has deeproots in the colonial armed forces and relies heavily on certainregions to supply its soldiers, especially parts of rural Punjab,where men have served in the army for generations. These men, theirwives and mothers, and the military culture surrounding them arethe focus of Maria Rashid's Dying to Serve, whichinnovatively and sensitively addresses the question: how does themilitary thrive when so much of its work results in injury,debility, and death? Taking ritual commemorations of fallensoldiers as one critical site of study, Rashid argues that these"spectacles of mourning" are careful manipulations of affect,gendered and structured by the military to reinforce itsomnipotence in the lives of its subjects. Grounding her study inthe famed martial district of Chakwal, Rashid finds affectsimilarly deployed in recruitment and training practices, as wellas management of death and compensation to families. She contendsthat understanding these affective technologies is crucial tochallenging the appeal of the military institution globally.