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The force of custom: Law and the ordering of everyday life in Kyrgyzstan

A talk with Prof. Dr. Judith Beyer

09.03.2017 | Nynne Visbo-Bomose

Dato tor 27 apr
Tid 14:15 16:00
Sted Aud. 2 (4206-121), Campus Moesgaard

In her talk, Judith Beyer will present the key findings of her recent book publication "The force of custom. Law and the ordering of everyday life in Kyrgyzstan" (2016, Pittsburgh University Press). In this monograph, which covers a decade of anthropological fieldwork and scholarly engagement with Central Asia, she takes up a particular counterintuitive perspective by looking at how her informants in rural Kyrgyzstan order their everyday lives and rationalize their recent history. She reveals how rather than conforming to a predictable 'post-socialist' pattern, her informants instead show a great capacity to hierarchize and create order on their own terms. Beyer's approach investigates the ways in which actors tactically and persuasively invoke different kinds of law to constantly create a hierarchical model of socio-legal order in which the umbrella concept of custom (salt) comes to dominate their everyday life. Invoking salt enables actors even as they claim to be constrained by it, it opens up possibilities to conceptualize, classify, and contextualize large- and mid-scale developments in an intimate idiom. It also is a way to communicate to others that one is an expert in and of one’s own culture. Beyer offers a unique critique of the concept of 'postsocialism', a new take on the concept of legal pluralism, and a serious plea to bring ethnomethodological approaches into correspondence with ethnographic data.

CAS, Antropologi