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Accepted Paper:

Traditional law in Kvemo Kartli and the reaction of the state  
Stephane Voell (University of Marburg)

Paper short abstract:

Paper long abstract:

The Svan population in the Georgian highlands are proud of their legal traditions and likewise the Svans in the lowland region of Kvemo Kartli. The latter are "eco-migrants" who where forced to leave their home regions in highland Svaneti because of natural disasters and plans to construct a dam in the late 1980s. They were relocated in newly constructed villages. Until today, Svans continue to migrate to the lowlands and settle often in villages which were deserted by their former Greek or Ossetian inhabitants. The Svan claim that they manage the conflicts on the local level by their own means, i.e. by their "traditions". According to this, elders and mediators are the key actors in the maintaining social order. I will discuss that traditional legal practice is not an isolated social phenomena but deeply interrelated to state administrative practice. In my presentation, I will explore this interrelation and overlapping of traditional and official legal practice and argue that traditional law is not practiced in the Svan villages of Kvemo Kartli in spite of but because of the state.

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