Who are ‘the’ Taliban? Life Worlds between Pashtun Traditions, Islamism, and Globalisation


  • Conrad Schetter


Taliban, Pashtuns, Islam, life worlds, globalisation


This article deals with the social background and the life worlds of the followers of the Taliban movement. It begins with an analysis of the essential social structures of Pashtun tribal society. It argues that both the Afghan wars, which are ongoing since 1979, and the consequent mass exodus had a tremendous impact on the everyday life of Pashtun society. They resulted in a contextualised confluence of values and norms, rooted in tribal culture on the one side and militant Islam on the other. The policy of the Taliban movement anticipated such normative changes within Pashtun society. Particularly the everlasting reference to Islam, the defence of local autonomy, and the emphasis on social justice emerged as key elements of the self-perception of the Taliban movement. Accordingly, my key argument is that the restoration and maintenance of (idealised) local social orders have been the driving force for the success of the Taliban movement. However, this tendency of preserving an (idealised) local order in the name of Islam is not unique to the Taliban but can be found across the Islamic world and can be regarded as a current phenomenon of globalisation.





Schetter, C. (2022). Who are ‘the’ Taliban? Life Worlds between Pashtun Traditions, Islamism, and Globalisation. Ethnoscripts, 24(1). Abgerufen von https://journals.sub.uni-hamburg.de/ethnoscripts/article/view/1996