C.V. | Publications | Project

Research Interests
International Affairs, the European Union’s Policy towards Central Asia, Development Policy, Legal Anthropology, Visual Ethnography, Customary Law (Adat) of Muslim Societies in former Soviet States, Gender Studies, Family Law, Islam, Restorative Justice, Conflict/Dispute Management.

Research Area(s)
Central Asia (Kyrgyz Republic), East-Turkestan (Kyzyl-Suu autonomous state), Turkey, Europe (Germany, Austria, Belgium)


Mahabat Sadyrbek is Postdoctoral Research Fellow within the Research Project “Conflict Regulation in Germany’s Plural Society”, in the Department of Law & Anthropology.

Mahabat Sadyrbek conceptualized her dissertation project at the Institute of Central Asian Studies, faculty of Cultural, Social and Educational Sciences at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Her doctoral thesis is a historical, anthropological, and legal research report about the forms of local law and indigenous popular justice in (rural) Kyrgyz communities. Her analysis offers a broad and empirically-based survey of the spectrum of available avenues by which people in Kyrgyzstan systematically address challenging problems and seek justice, redress, punishment, compensation, readjustment of relations or closure in relation to disputes, violence, accidents, crimes, and trouble-cases.

Mahabat Sadyrbek was trained in the Pedagogy of Foreign Languages and studied Law in Kyrgyzstan (Bishkek), German Languages and Literature as well as Political Sciences in Germany (Hannover). She graduated from the International Master of European Studies/European Integration in Belgium (Brussels). Mahabat Sadyrbek has also completed the Doctoral Programme of Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies (BGSMCS), funded by the Excellence Initiative of the German Federal and State Governments and by Free University of Berlin. After a short term Research Fellowship at the Institute for Islamic Studies (FU), she joined the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology. 

Why Law & Anthropology?

Justice Holmes said once: “If your subject is law, the roads are plain to anthropology.”“. If not, the study of law may lack a critical dimension. Through the eyes of an anthropologist, we have the possibility to understand law through people’s deepest assumptions and beliefs—in codes of shame and honor, in local mores and ethics as well as in religious views. Law is expressed through ritually structured communicative exchange, through dictums and proverbs with binding characters and different legal practices or processes undertaken in people’s specific way them deem appropriate and acceptable. The fact that law is living, changing, and dynamic fascinates me on a personal and scholarly level.    


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