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Accepted Paper:

Legitimisation of religious law in local communities in Dagestan  
Iwona Kaliszewska (University of Warsaw)

Paper short abstract:

Paper long abstract:

In Dagestan, we may observe a pertaining crisis of the state. In the mountain communities, people claim to live according to "their own laws" or Sharia. With silent consent from local (but not federal) police/militia and administration "jaamats" introduce penalties for selling and drinking alcohol, smoking, gambling or even playing music and not wearing a veil. Based on my research, I explore how and why in such "crisis places" informal rules keep on gaining legitimacy and how it is affected by fantasies (to use Zizek's term) for the (strong) state and self image of the community and its traditions. I will show that legitimisation of the informal rules owes to the fact that they're being presented by authoritative people as formal or not contradictory to the state law ("It is all compatible with Constitution of Russian Federation."). New rules are being inscribed in a wider context of the state, which as an abstract idea always bears a strong emotional potential, especially in the periphery. I will also show that informal rules gain legitimacy when perceived and presented as an intrinsic part of a local identity, morality and heritage.

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