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From the mini-skirt to Chadris: the different conceptions of Afghan identity from 1975 to 1978 through women’s garment

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ID: <10670/1.197qo8>


The study of Afghan women's clothing seeks a new approach to analyzing the genesis of the Afghan war. This work is carried out by comparing women's clothing taken from Laurence Brun's photographs « Students in Kabul » and Micheline Centlivres-Demont's « Nassima, Senator's daughter » in the face of the economic and political upheavals of 1975-1978. Afghanistan is divided into ethnicities and social groups that fragment the country between rurality and urbanity, modernity and tradition. The study of the evolution of Afghan women's clothing seeks to understand the affiliations and identity formations of these groups in a state under construction, in order to highlight women's political demands on their condition and status. Afghanistan bases its political identity on cultural factors such as ethnic diversity and popular religion (Islam), which governs social organization. Identity was disrupted when Daoud Khan modernized the country through his relations with the West and the USSR and marginalized religion. In the face of Western marketings, the concept of protection of women stemming from the popular religion is undergoing new interpretations and the status of women for progressives is evolving from valuing the status of mother to valuing the status of women in their own right. Under issues of domination, the ethnic identity cultural system distorted through politics and power relationships between ethnicities for a patriarchal system is directly questioned through their clothes by conservatives, nationalists, communists and liberals in their uprisings.

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