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STRATEGIZING VIOLENCE: AN ANARCHIST PERSPECTIVE ON OMAR SHAHID HAMID’S THE PRISONER AND THE SPINNER’S TALE
Omar Shahid Hamid’s novels, The Prisoner and The Spinner’s Tale, represent a meteoric surge in terrorist violence in Pakistani society after the catastrophic event of 9/11. In the backdrop of scenes of violence and terrorism, Hamid highlights the possible nexus between centralized state authority and violence by non-state players. The selected novels portray the recurring antagonism between multiple forms of authority (such as state, ideology, and capitalism) and the individual and political agency of the citizens of Pakistan. Along with this, Hamid depicts the use of subjective violence by terrorist entities in society as potential means to secure political, ideological and capitalist interests. This study applies the anarchist theory of Mikhail Bakunin who advocates the use of violence as a necessary tool to defy oppressive state authority. It invokes his perspective in order to analyze the role of state and its subordinate institutions as far as the situation of violence and anarchy is concerned. It further explores how, on the one hand, violence by anti-state elements destabilizes society and endangers the ordinary state subjects, and how, on the other hand, it is used as a potent tool by peripheral voices of dissent to dismantle the centralized state authority. In order to analyze the role of state institutions in a more elaborate manner, this study makes use of Louis Althusser’s theory of state as a repressive state apparatus. To avoid a one-sided take on violence by the dissident groups as purely an act of subversion, this thesis investigates how the state uses repression as a strategy to ensure social, economic and political stability. It also examines how violence is employed by the state institutions as a way to eliminate existential threat by terrorist elements to the state of Pakistan. This research is exploratory and interpretive in nature therefore, the research approach followed in this thesis is qualitative. The research method used in the thesis to interpret the selected works is textual analysis.