Dr. Ayyaz Mallick Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, York University
Aasim Sajjad Akhtar’s Politics of Common Sense is one of the most concerted recent efforts to bring a Gramscian lens to bear on the postcolonial state and civil society. Akhtar draws upon contemporary Marxist-Gramscian debates to critique and extend Hamza Alavi’s influential theorisation of the “overdeveloped” postcolonial state. In doing so, he provides a holistic account of the Pakistani state, society, and economy over the last four decades, through a focus on the country’s changing ruling bloc, shifting modes of accumulation, and mechanisms of coercion-consent. This masterclass will discuss Akhtar’s arguments, their continuities and discontinuities with older lineages of Marxist and postcolonial theorisations of state-civil society, and their advances and limitations for understanding social change and politics in Pakistan and beyond in the global South.