Two New Books by Masooda Bano: The Rational Believer and Breakdown in Pakistan

16 March, 2012

ESRC Research Fellow Masooda Bano has published two new monographs this month, The Rational Believer: Choices and Decisions in the Madrasas of Pakistan (Cornell University Press) and Breakdown in Pakistan: How Aid Is Eroding Institutions for Collective Action (Stanford University Press).

In The Rational Believer, Dr Bano uses rich interview, ethnographic, and survey data, as well as fieldwork conducted in Pakistan to examine madrasas, or Islamic schools.

Madrasas have been accused of radicalizing Muslims and participating, either actively or passively, in terrorist networks since the events of 9/11. Dr Bano maps the choices and decisions confronted by students, teachers, parents, and clerics and explains why available choices make participation in jihad appear at times a viable course of action.

In Breakdown in Pakistan, Dr Bano considers the argument that aid often erodes, rather than promotes, cooperation within developing nations. Using data from Pakistan, the book presents a rare, micro-level account of the complex decision-making processes that bring individuals together to form collective-action platforms. It then examines why aid often breaks down the very institutions for collective action that it aims to promote.