Accepted paper:

A Case of Insult: Honour and Reputation in the Customary Court

Authors:

Pnina Werbner (Keele University)
Richard Werbner (Manchester University)

Paper short abstract:

The chapter considers the significance ‎of honour and dignity for villagers in rural Botswana, focusing on cases of insult, public shaming and redemptive demand for recognition in village courts.

Paper long abstract:

This chapter focuses on cases of insults, frequently heard in customary village courts. In such ‎cases, what is at stake is often not merely the outcome or financial compensation for accusers, ‎but even more, the public shaming of a person or the redemptive demand by the dishonoured ‎for recognition and dignity. Very often the cases are between women of different ages, ‎young as well as old, and about insults, including witchcraft accusations. The central case in ‎this chapter was heard in a ward moot in which an attempt was made to persuade the accused ‎to drop her accusations, since these would undoubtedly lead to her imprisonment if taken to ‎the village court. It was widely recognised by the moot members that the accused was unwell ‎physically and mentally, and thus not fully responsible for her utterances, however offensive, ‎but it was nevertheless important to prevent the case from going forward to the (village) ‎court, which was likely to mete out severe punishment. The chapter considers the significance ‎of honour and dignity for villagers.‎

panel P063
The anthropology of emotions and law [LAW NET]