Dog fighting: Performing masculinity in rural South Punjab, Pakistan

Muhammad A. Kavesh*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    Dog fighting, along with other nonhuman-animal-fighting activities, is a popular pastime in rural South Punjab, Pakistan. This article explicates dog fighting and discusses its symbolic significance to those who control the game, organize it, and participate in the performance. In discussing the activity, the paper raises multiple questions: how do rural men develop an attachment to their fighting dogs? What motivates the men to engage in dog fighting? How is dog fighting a cultural practice? What type of social gains do dog fighters make when there is no gambling involved? Finally, what symbolic meanings can be drawn from this activity from an emic perspective? The article is based on year-long ethnographic fieldwork with dog fighters in South Punjab, Pakistan, and examines the activity within the Punjabi cultural context where it is taken as an enthusiastic predilection (shauq) for displaying masculinity (mardāngī) to achieve honor (izzat).

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)227-245
    Number of pages19
    JournalSociety and Animals
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


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