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Accepted Paper:

Present-day customary law in urban Georgia and the response of the state (using the example of Tbilisi)  
Evgenia Zakharova (Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography/European University at St. Petersburg)

Paper short abstract:

Paper long abstract:

Legal pluralism in the Caucasus and in Georgia in particular is usually considered by the example of mountainous, or, at least, rural areas. However, legal norms and practices, parallel to those imposed by the state exist in Georgian urban culture, too. Until today, the right to justice alongside with (and often in contrast to the) state belongs - among others - to leaders of urban local youth groups and to the representatives of the "world of the thieves" who control them. In their decisions, they refer to a set of prescriptions and norms, which are known as "street code" or "street law" and can be determined as urban customary law. Several years ago, the state was not yet taking any steps on fighting with the street and the whole system of informal relationships and shadow economy that is based on "street code". With the arrival of Mikheil Saakashvili, the state seeks to take control over these spheres (street life in particular), that earlier were in full possession of the "thieves law" and local territorial groups. In my paper I will consider local legal practices of the urban street and the state response to them.

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