This paper attempts to explain social structures in rural Pakistan by presenting a snap- shot of seven villages in seven districts, and then using a comparative analysis to determine the impact of social structures on determining and maintaining poverty. Since the description pre- sented is, essentially, a snapshot, the paper doesnot consider the historical evolution of each type of social structure. Nevertheless, it remains cog- nizant of the fact that social structures are not static entities but are instead the result of dynam- ic processes of evolution.
The empirical focus is on specific villages and communities, and rela- tions of power, hierarchy, and solidarity among groups in these villages and communities. A nec- essary cost of maintaining this micro-level per- spective is, obviously, that broader trends and processes—e.g., changes wrought by global events, the international and regional environment, and the media—make an appearance only if they have a direct and conspicuous bearing on events in the survey sites.