The frame of research of our research project encompasses four individual projects and six general questions. In the next posts in this blog we will provide some first answers. We will begin with the general questions.
4) Who are the actors and what are the places and motivations for using traditional law?
According to interviews and the literature there are two central positions in Svan traditional law. On the one hand, there is the makhvshi, i.e. a powerful elder which existed on every level of the segmentary clan structure, which is described for Svaneti until the beginning of the 20th century, i.e. before the Soviet Union came into power. On the other hand there are the mediators, called morval, who are sworn on icons to be impartial in mediating procedures. Both positions are still known but not found today in Kvemo Kartli under this name. One can find elders and mediators, but they are not named as described, rather as uprotsesi (elder) or shuakatsi (middleman). These persons seem to fulfill the same role but do not have the same uncontested authority than in old Svaneti.