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Pluralism, Resilience, and the Ecology of Survival: Case Studies from the Pamir Mountains of Afghanistan

Karim-Aly S Kassam, Department of Natural Resources and the American Indian Program, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, Cornell University


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As resilience is observed under circumstances of systemic stress, the various ecological zones of the Pamir Mountains of Afghanistan and the cultural diversity contained within this milieu provide an appropriate setting from which to ask "How can a dynamic concept of pluralism inform adaptation, survival, and resilience in the face of dramatic socio-cultural and environmental change?" This paper asserts that understanding of resilience in coupled socio-cultural and ecological systems is enhanced by the concept of pluralism. The idea of ecological niche is enriched by sensitivity to culture, religion, ethnicity, lifestyle, and habitat. Facilitative relations between the ethnically diverse Kyrgyz and Wakhi, as well as the Pashtu and Shugni, contribute to their mutual survival and food sovereignty. The common good is achieved by harnessing ethnic, religious, and ecological diversity.

Key words

Afghanistan; Arab Pashtu; coupled systems; human ecology; Kyrgyz; pluralism; Pamir Mountains; resilience; Shugni; Wakhi

Copyright © 2010 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087