Resistance, Representation and Third Space in Shimshal Village, Northern Pakistan
This paper examines how inhabitants of Shimshal, a small mountain community in northern Pakistan, resist their subordination in two realms of interaction with outsiders: (a) as porters for Western tourists, and (b) as animal herders whose pastures have been placed within the boundaries of a limited-use national park. I describe a shift in emphasis from mainly material forms of everyday resistance, to resistances aimed at negating the discourses that legitimise Shimshalis’ continued subordination in these realms. I argue that community members’ efforts to involve non-locals in their representational struggles effectively reconstitute some of the physical terrain of those struggles – specifically trekking trails and pastures – as third spaces, provisionally beyond dualistic understandings of porter/trekker, global/local, and self/other. The paper concludes by considering the hybridity implicit in this form of resistance; specifically, that to move beyond a dualistic understanding of self/other is to practice the hybridization of self.
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