Law as Adjunct to Custom? Abkhaz custom and law in today's state-building and 'modernisation' - (Studied through dispute resolution)

Costello, Michael (2015) Law as Adjunct to Custom? Abkhaz custom and law in today's state-building and 'modernisation' - (Studied through dispute resolution). Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (Full text available)

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Abstract

The setting for research is Abkhazia a small country south of the Caucasus Mountains and bordering Europe and the Near East. The Abkhaz hold onto custom – apswara – to make of state law an adjunct to custom as the state strives to strengthen its powers to ‘modernise’ along capitalist lines. This institution of a parallel-cum-interwoven and oppositional existence of practices and the laws questions the relationship of the two in a novel way. The bases of apswara are its concepts of communality and fairness. Profound transformations have followed the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and the breakaway from and subsequent war with Georgia, none of which have brought the bright prospects that were hoped-for with independence. The element of hope in post-Soviet nostalgia provides pointers to what the Abkhaz seek to enact for their future, to decide the course of change that entertains the possibility of a non-capitalist modernisation route and a customary state. Apswara is founded on the direct participatory democracy of non-state regulation. It draws members of all ethnicities into the generation of nationalist self-awareness that transcends ethnicity and religions, and forms around sacred shrines and decisions taken by popular assemblies. It has topical significance for other societies where custom and law co-habit through contestation, and questions some widely accepted theories about the relationship of the two, as well as problematising anthropological concepts of ‘legal pluralism’ and post-Sovietics. The study suggests new topics for research.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Uncontrolled keywords: State, law, custom, Abkhazia, post-Sovietics, nostalgia , modernisation
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
K Law
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 09 Apr 2015 11:00 UTC
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2017 16:56 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/47916 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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