Customizations of Law : Courts of Elders (Aksakal Courts) in Rural and Urban Kyrgyzstan

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2015
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Zusammenfassung

This article deals with a neotraditional institution: the aksakal courts (courts of elders, or “whitebeards”) in Central Asian Kyrgyzstan. Founded in 1993 by the first president of the country, and based on an elaborate law enacted in 2002, the newly appointed aksakal judges were supposed to judge according to what were considered to be the customs and traditions of the Kyrgyz. In this article I show in what ways the judges’ way of “being aksakals” often accords neither with the letter nor intent of the law, but reflects a more fundamental way of ordering the world, here referred to as customization. I argue that the ways in which the court members in rural and urban Kyrgyzstan link themselves to traditionalist imagery and state trappings reveal a more general point about how people in contemporary Central Asia engage with their being-in-the-world. This is particularly relevant in times of social change such as those initiated after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

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390 Ethnologie
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law, ordering, neotraditionalism, state, elders, Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia
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ISO 690BEYER, Judith, 2015. Customizations of Law : Courts of Elders (Aksakal Courts) in Rural and Urban Kyrgyzstan. In: PoLAR : Political and Legal Anthropology Review. 2015, 38(1), pp. 53-71. ISSN 1081-6976. eISSN 1555-2934. Available under: doi: 10.1111/plar.12086
BibTex
@article{Beyer2015Custo-31632,
  year={2015},
  doi={10.1111/plar.12086},
  title={Customizations of Law : Courts of Elders (Aksakal Courts) in Rural and Urban Kyrgyzstan},
  number={1},
  volume={38},
  issn={1081-6976},
  journal={PoLAR : Political and Legal Anthropology Review},
  pages={53--71},
  author={Beyer, Judith}
}
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