PIDE Unveils Insights into the Socio-Cultural Landscape of Pakistanis

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PIDE Unveils Insights into the Socio-Cultural Landscape of Pakistanis

ISLAMABAD, NOV 12 /DNA/ – The Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) announces the release of groundbreaking research encapsulating the historical, socio-cultural, and behavioral aspects of the Pakistani population. This extensive study, titled “BASICS,” compiles diverse research notes that delve into the beliefs, attitudes, social capital, institutions, community, and self of Pakistanis.

The results, derived from a nationwide survey, provide a detailed focus on the representative trends and patterns across the six thematic areas that BASICS research explores. To unravel the reasons behind these trends, the study conducted qualitative research through focus group discussions and episodic interviews. This in-depth analysis took place in key regions, including Upper and Southern Punjab, Islamabad Capital Territory, Rawalpindi, Bahawalpur, and Multan. A total of 16 focus group discussions and multiple interviews engaged participants from universities, including students, academic and administrative staff. Additionally, entrepreneurs, religious minorities, and transgender communities were interviewed for a comprehensive understanding.

The study introduces three interrelated themes—Identity, Inclusion, and Social Capital—along with contemporaneous sub-themes defined by gender, profession, political affiliation, ethnicity, religious ethos, and sexual orientation.

Authored by Dr. Durre Nayab, Pro Vice Chancellor, PIDE, and Dr. Fahd Zulfiqar, Assistant Professor, PIDE, the qualitative report initiates with a critical examination of identity. Addressing the layered, intersectional, and multi-vocal nature of identities for Pakistanis, the research taxonomizes identity into Individual (self, collective, contrived, gendered, and performative), Social (shared identities defined by ethnicity, religiosity, and majority-minority divides), and National (nationality and a sense of longing and belonging to the homeland). The research underscores that identities are predominantly gendered for women, nationalistic and ethicized for men, communal for religious, and marginalized for sexual minorities.

Another focal point of the study is Social Capital, wherein the research identifies the forms of capital possessed by respondents, explores variations in their habitus, and scrutinizes the role of cultural capital in reinforcing social power dynamics. The study also investigates the role of vertical and horizontal social capital in social networking and in the development of gendered, professionalized, and spatial relationships.

Addressing inclusivity, the study reports that Pakistanis exhibit circumventing behaviours toward religious minorities, marginalizing tendencies towards transgender individuals, patriarchal, sexist, and heteronormative attitudes towards women, and majoritarian inclinations towards men.

The issue of trust emerged as a central theme, with participants expressing mistrust in key institutions, including the State, government, judiciary, police, and army. Reasons for this mistrust, narrated from the lived experiences of the respondents, range from case pendency and political influence in the judiciary to complicity in criminal activities and excessive government footprint.

The current study, the first in the series on “Who Are We?” (Qualitative Analysis), sets the stage for subsequent reports. The next report will feature diverse individuals articulating their beliefs, attitudes, selves, communities, social capital, and perceptions of institutions.