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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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Abstract

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
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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087