The Cognitive Backyard

A Tale of Individualism

A colored umbrella among gray signifies individualism

In a lecture in summer this year, our fine professor, Dr. Amani Moazzam, asked us whether we believe that Pakistan is still a collectivist society. Some said yes, however, there were many who contested this idea. There were strong opinions made across the lecture room in favor of the view that we are increasingly individualistic. The professor suggested that there is a need to study the sociocultural changes in our society that we can only subjectively feel and state as of yet.

I, for one, took the suggestion to heart. And my mind simply hates it when it has to clean up the mess left behind by my heart. Continue with reading

Benefits of Returning to Grad School

there are many benefits of returning to grad school

“I should really be studying” is something I keep telling myself. But, I have observed it is quite easier said than done. At this ripe “young” age, I returned to Grad school to continue my formal education and achieve another academic milestone. However, I was sure that 16 years of formal education have made no effect on me, none whatsoever, and another 2 years degree would make no difference. Continue with reading

Is Politics Good or Evil?

It is natural to think is politics good or evil?

“We hear about politics all the time, but is politics good or evil?” asked Dr. Amani Moazzam.

She is a bespectacled, studious looking professor with an aura of a headstrong woman which many of her students find intimidating initially. In reality, she is a sweet and kind at heart teacher whose concern for her students gradually manifests itself rather involuntarily. Continue with reading

Foreign Policy in a Changing World

In the arena of international relations, there is no such thing as equality. The perception of state’s power and national interests set the stage of how states interact with each other. Coincidently, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to the United States coincided with the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the United Kingdom. The difference of reception of both leaders by their host countries is a classic example how states perceive other states and treat them accordingly.

Continue with reading

Social Class Discrimination at Work

I am neither a Marxist nor I find myself completely in agreement with Karl Marx, however, I am sometimes fascinated by him. He identified many problems with the budding capitalist, industrialist western society of the 19th century. Marx essentially based his economic philosophy on the basis of class discrimination in the capitalist world. He divided the capitalist society into two distinct social classes; bourgeoisie (haves) and proletariat (have-nots). The social class discrimination in Marxist terms is based on the ownership of means of production; those who own the means of production (bourgeoisie, haves) and those who do not (proletariat, have-nots). Continue with reading

NGOs and Challenges for the State

ABSTRACT:

The dawn of 21st century has seen a growing interest in civil society organizations and their potential role in achieving development goals and sharing the burden of governance and public management. These civil society organizations have shaped up in the backdrop of modern concepts such as public accountability, policy advocacy and social and political change, and have also played their role in defining the new paradigms of public administration and global governance. Pakistan has seen a remarkable growth in the number of civil society organizations as well as their scope and role in the public space. This paper lays the foundations of exploring the idea of civil society, its philosophical connection with political liberalism and various challenges it poses as new social and administrative phenomena. The paper argues that NGOs, with their organized mobilization of citizenry for social and political change on the one hand, and while competing for provision of public goods and services due to privatization and contractualism on the other hand, have become a powerful tool of political and administrative control. Continue with reading

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