Working Paper 95

Imagining the State in Rural Kyrgyzstan: how perceptions of the state create customary law in the Kyrgyz aksakal courts

Judith Beyer

Projektgruppe Rechtspluralismus

Jahr der Veröffentlichung


Wokring Paper 95

In this paper I examine how the image of the state comes to be constructed in rural Kyrgyzstan. Taking the example of the Kyrgyz courts of elders (aksakal courts) I show how elders perceive the Kyrgyz state and state law and how these perceptions influence the way they carry out their court sessions. By using a divorce case dealt with in an aksakal court I show how images of national and international legal elements define the procedures and the outcome of the court case. This paper contributes to the expanding literature on the anthropology of the state. I argue that anthropology can only tackle "the state" by looking at how its image is created in local practices. What we can observe in these practices, however, are less representations of “the state” than often entirely new practices. PDF (638 KB)

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