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The concluding conference of our research project on traditional law in Georgia took place in November 2011. In 2015 was published an edited volume by Stéphane Voell and Iwona Kaliczewska which is largely based on this conference. The book is entitled “State and Legal Practice in the Caucasus”. Recently two reviews were published on this book.

Stéphen Huard writes in the The Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law: “Unlike many conference collections, the volume as a whole keeps its unity thanks to theoretical organisation provided by Voell and Kaliszewska in the introducing chapter. The editors embrace the diversity of the contributions by dividing them in two main themes that represent the two halves of the volume under the banner of pluralism: tradition and the state.”

In Caucasus Survey Annamária Kissa writes: “The unique approach, carefully selected topics and detailed articles guarantee that this book is useful for not only those who are interested in the Caucasus region. The biggest strength of it is that it gives one the benefit of double insight by offering an understanding of highly peculiar traditions of specific segments of societies in the region, filtered through an understanding of the wider socio-political-economic context in which these are situated.”

9781472446909

The penultimate action in our research project on traditional law in Georgia is the publication of the edited volume State and Legal Practice in the Caucasus: Anthropological Perspectives on Law and Politics which was published a couple of weeks ago. The book brings together papers presented at the occasion of our concluding conference in November 2011 in Batumi and some additional contributions.

Abstract:

Legal pluralism and the experience of the state in the Caucasus are at the centre of this edited volume. This is a region affected by a multitude of legal orders and the book describes social action and governance in the light of this, and considers how conceptions of order are enforced, used, followed and staged in social networks and legal practice. Principally, how is the state perceived and how does it perform in both the North and South Caucasus?

From elections in Dagestan and Armenia to uses of traditional law in Ingushetia and Georgia, from repression of journalism in Azerbaijan to the narrations of anti-corruption campaigns in Georgia – the text reflects the multifarious uses and performances of law and order. The collection includes approaches from different scholarly traditions and their respective theoretical background and therefore forms a unique product of multinational encounters.

The volume will be a valuable resource for legal and political anthropologists, ethnohistorians and researchers and academics working in the areas of post-socialism and post-colonialism.

Content

Entered Home Stretch

Outside of the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan (© Grzegorz Wąsik)

Outside of the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan (© Grzegorz Wąsik)

We just entered home stretch for the publication “State and Legal Practice in the Caucasus: Anthropological Perspectives on Law and Politics”. Stéphane Voell and Iwona Kaliszewska are the editor of the book, which reflects the final conference of the project in Batumi in November 2011. The book will be published by Ashate. The editors are finalising the index and have to send back the proof copies with some correction by Mid-January. The book will be released in March 2015.

New article published

“Identity and Traditional Law Local Legal Conceptions in Svan Villages, Georgia”, by Stéphane Voell, Natia Jalabadze, Lavrenti Janiashvili and Elke Kamm. In: Anthropological Journal of European Cultures, Volume 23, No. 2 (2014): 98-118 (doi: 10.3167/ajec.2014.230208).

Abstract: Traditional law continues to be relevant for the Svans (Georgians), who usually live in the highlands of the Caucasus, but who have also migrated to various parts of Georgia. To grasp its practice we draw on approaches in which its use is discussed as a strategy for ‘(re)asserting collective identities’ (Benda-Beckmann) in order to enforce specific goals. But our research also shows another dimension of traditional law: more than in actual conflict resolutions, traditional law is found in narratives, that is in memories of how conflicts were resolved earlier and should be solved today. These stories, however, of how and when traditional law should be applied rarely correspond to lived reality. Drawing on Brubaker and Cooper, we argue that beside a rather instrumental motivated use of traditional law in asserting collective identities, its contemporary practice can only be fully understood if we also acknowledge its non-instrumental practice.

Link: AJEC.

State and Legal Practice in the Caucasus

Anthropological Perspectives on Law and Politics

Edited by Stéphane Voell, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany and Iwona Kaliszewska, University of Warsaw, Poland

 

Legal pluralism and the experience of the state in the Caucasus are at the centre of this edited volume. The book describes how social action and governance takes place in this region affected by a multitude of legal orders. The authors ask how conceptions of order are enforced, used, followed and staged in social networks and legal practice. Principally, how is state perceived and performed in both the North and South Caucasus?

From elections in Dagestan and Armenia to uses of traditional law in Ingushetia and Georgia, from repression of journalism in Azerbaijan to the narrations of anti-corruption campaigns in Georgia – the text reflects the multifarious uses and performances of law and order. The collection includes approaches from different scholarly traditions and their respective theoretical background and therefore forms a unique product of multinational encounter.

The volume will be a valuable resource for legal and political anthropologists, ethnohistorians and researchers and academics working in the areas of post-socialism and post-colonialism.

Contents: Preface; Pluralism, tradition and perspectives on the state in the Caucasus: introduction, Stéphane Voell and Iwona Kaliszewska; Triple laws and quasi-states in the Caucasus, Sergey Arutiunov; The dialectics of nation-state construction in the North Caucasus in the 1920-1930s, Yuri Karpov; Traditional law and blood feud: Svan legal practice in Soviet times and in contemporary Southern Georgia, Natia Jalabadze and Lavrenti Janiashvili; Blood feud in Ingushetia: differences in adat and sharia, Makka Albogachieva; Municipal elections in Dagestan: political events in a village community, Ekaterina Kapustina; The Tbilisi ‘street’ as a legal and political phenomenon in Georgia, Evgenia Zakharova; Dimensions of honour in Kvemo Kartli, Georgia: the importance of virginity in the name of honour, Elke Kamm; Moral breakdown among the Georgian Svans: a car accident between traditional and state law, Stéphane Voell; Lack and excess of state: how Dagestani experience state practices in their everyday life, Iwona Kaliszewska; Informality in a neopatrimonial state: Azerbaijan, Rail Safiyev; Elections in Armenia: Western models and local traditions, Levon Abrahamian and Gayane Shagoyan; Capitalizing on aid: post-war development and state-building in Georgia, Elizabeth Cullen Dunn and Austin Cowley; A guest of a client: community-based tourism in Armenia between industry and hospitality, Gayane Shagoyan; Corruption as institution and habitus: Georgia under Eduard Shevardnadze as seen from the perspective of Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of practice, Barbara Christophe; Marketing reforms: the dimension of narratives in Georgia’s fight against corruption, Lili Di Puppo; Index.

About the Editors: Stéphane Voell is Lecturer at the Department for Cultural and Social Anthropology at the Philipps-University Marburg, Germany. He has carried out fieldwork in Georgia and Albania and organized numerous workshops, conferences and student excursions in the Caucasus. He specializes in law, state, ethnicity and conflict.

Iwona Kaliszewska is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Warsaw, Poland. She has carried out fieldwork in Dagestan and Chechnya which resulted in a book ‘Matrioshka in Hijab’, co-authored by Maciej Falkowski. She specializes in political anthropology and Caucasus area studies.

Reviews: ‘The timely drive to advance our understandings of legal pluralism is finding some of its richest material in the Caucasus past and present. This excellent volume, bringing together a model cohort of scholars from within the Caucasus and beyond, tells us why.’
Bruce Grant, New York University, USA

Taken from Ashgate’s website

 

New Publication

It takes a lot of time to publish the articles from our project on traditional Law in Georgia, but one by one they will appear in the future. Here is the next text.

This issue of the Caucasus Analytical Digest (CAD )examines the role of traditional law in Georgia. Stéphane Voell argues that despite a new political environment created by the strengthening of the state administration and the work of law-enforcement agencies after the Rose Revolution, traditional law remains an important frame of reference for the Svan population. Lavrenti Janiashvili studies the practice of traditional law in Svaneti in Soviet times as an important part of Georgia’s legal history that sheds light on contemporary practices. Elke Kamm examines the practice of bride kidnapping in Tetritskaro, Georgia and explains that it was considered by Georgian ethnographers as an alternative form of marriage that allowed men to marry without going into debt and still occurs nowadays, though rarely. Natia Jabaladze studies the custom of blood feud among Svan migrants in the region of Kvemo-Kartli in Georgia and observes that this tradition remains more alive in self-representation among Svans than in practice.

Publication see here