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EEO. 2020; 19(3): 3297-3306

Devoted Cosmopolitans: Estranged Pakistanis (Dialectics of Class and Cosmopolitanism in an Elite Pakistani University)

Dr. Tayyaba Batool Tahir, Dr. Abdul Razaque Channa, Dr. Bashir Hussain.


Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in Pakistan, this paper explores the relationship between cosmopolitanism and class in Pakistan. The participants of this research are young Pakistani men, who were studying in an elite Pakistani university at the time of fieldwork. The educational training and socialization of the informants has taught them to be ‘global citizens’ of the world as most of them will serve in key bureaucratic and administrative positions in Pakistan and abroad. By virtue of their training in an elite university, these young men were participating in a cosmopolitan version of Pakistani culture. The spectrum of meanings that international food chains, brands outlets and technological gadgets may have for young Pakistanis provides insights into the meaning and significance of the process of cosmopolitanism. Understandings of such things as McDonalds, for example, may change considerably depending on the socio-economic class of the individual and the particulars of cultural context. Whereas McDonalds currently carries working class connotations in most western settings, in Pakistan McDonalds has somehow obtaineda status symbol and is mostly consumed by upper or upper-middle class people who are located on the ‘westernized’/ ‘modernized’ end of Pakistan’s social spectrum. In this paper, we elucidate what ‘being cosmopolitan’ entails in Pakistani cultural context by distinguishing between consuming cosmopolitanism, living like a global citizen and understanding cosmopolitanism.

Key words: Cosmopolitan, Westernized, Modernization, Class, Pakistani Culture.

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