As an example, in the Middle Ages the concept of "government" in Europe was fuzzy at best. Most people worked the fields and primarily cared about who's the local landowner, rather than about who's the current king or where the current borders of "their" country are located. I'm saying this to illustrate that the concept of "government" is not necessarily the same for every human on the planet, not to imply that Afghanistan is necessarily the same as a Middle Ages state.

Are there any surveys or sociological studies attempting to explain how your average citizen of Afghanistan understands the concept of "government"? I.e. do they care who the "President" is or do they believe that the local tribal leader is much more important? I imagine residents of Kabul might have closer ties to the "official" government so I'm primarily interested in what people outside of Kabul think.


Partly answered by the 2018 Asia Foundation poll.

Survey interviews were conducted in July 2018 and 80% of respondents say they were aware of the upcoming parliamentary elections. This is consistent with 2009 (82%), when the same question was asked regarding that year’s presidential election. Over half of respondents (52%) said they believe that the next election would be free and fair. Thinking the next election will be free and fair is positively correlated with national optimism. Respondents who say the next elections would be free and fair are significantly more likely to think the country is moving in the right direction than those who believe the opposite (42% vs. 24%). Rural respondents (71%) are more likely to say they plan to vote than urban (65%). Afghans’ satisfaction with democracy has increased from 57% in 2017 to 61% this year.

So there does not seem to be a significant difference between urban and rural Afghans.

  • Is 71% vs 65% really a significant difference?
    – JJJ
    Aug 18 at 1:03
  • 1
    @JJJ I'm not sure, but that's why I wrote "... there does not seem to be a significant difference". It does indicate that the hypothesis that rural Afghans view government differently from urban Afghans (in particular that they see the local tribe leader as more important) is not supported by the data.
    – Allure
    Aug 18 at 1:06
  • Ah, apologies, misread that.
    – JJJ
    Aug 18 at 1:08
  • there's other crosstabs there (was digging in the other day) that would be more illustrative.
    – dandavis
    Aug 18 at 18:53

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