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Accepted Paper:

The custom of blood feud in Georgia: aggression and culture  
Natia Jalabadze (TSU, Ivane Javakhishvili Institute of History and Ethnology)

Paper short abstract:

Paper long abstract:

The custom of blood feud is described in the literature on Georgia since the 19th century. Although in contemporary Georgia blood feud is proscribed by law the custom still persists in the Georgian highlands (e.g. Svaneti) and among the people migrated from the mountainous regions to the lowlands (e.g. Kvemo Kartli). In the presentation, it will be argued that the reasons for its preservation are not to be found in the popular argument concerning the lack of state control in the remote regions. On the one hand, blood feud stands in a close relationship to strong ideologies of honour which still appear important in every day life of highland people, no matter if the state is "strong" or "weak". On the other hand, as blood feud can be started easily after minor incidents, it always remains one option to embed conflicts with a rather material background in the ideology of feud which gives to a material conflict a kind of "cultural legitimation". The paper will discuss ethnographic data mainly obtained from research in the Georgian lowland region Kvemo Kartli.

Panel W109
Law in the Caucasus: anthropological perspectives on legal practice
  Session 1