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Book review - Sorrow and joy among Muslim women : the Pukhtuns of Northern Pakistan, by Amineh Ahmed

Bryce, Derek (2009) Book review - Sorrow and joy among Muslim women : the Pukhtuns of Northern Pakistan, by Amineh Ahmed. [Review]

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This engaging ethnographic study is immediately useful in methodological terms for readers in the field of social anthropology. Yet its utility also extends to a potentially wider audience, such as this reviewer, from a cultural studies background, interested in the problematic representation of the supposed irreconcilability of 'Islamic culture' with 'modernity'. The book focuses upon the embodiment as opposed to the textuality of this discursive interplay. Thus the particular frame within which Amineh Ahmed approaches this wider subject is an examination of the set of reciprocal social practices centring on death, illness, marriage and birth (gham-khadi or sorrow and joy) amongst networks of wealthy, elite women or bibiane (l), of Pakistan's Pukhtun ethno-linguistic group in 'traditional' rural, 'modern' urban and, indeed, international contexts.