The phenomenon of blood feud among albanians and its impact on children
Abstract: In the middle ages the Albanian northern tribes had their own customary law that regulated their everyday life. This customary law is called the Kanun of Lekë Dukagjini. The Kanun of Lekë Dukagjini has been passed on by the old generation orally to new generations and used by highland clans in northern Albania, Kosovo and from Albanian tribes in Macedonia and Montenegro. This oral law regulates crimes, one of the consequences of which is blood feud. During the Communist Regime in Albania, from 1944-1990, Kanun was banned and has not been practiced for around 50 years. After the 90s, when the communist regime fell due to the weak state and land disputes, people in northern Albania started to use Kanun again and the blood feud phenomenon came up but this time people used it differently. Thus, previously, children and women were not affected by blood feud but after the 90s and in recent times they are threatened by it. In this paper I will explore how we can understand the phenomenon of living law through a social analysis of blood feud, in Albania, with a focus on children’s situations. I will concentrate a particular focus on children’s situation and the role and impact of state and NGOs in blood feud. I also want to understand the social and political circumstances that impact the development and use of blood feud. My thesis utilises a two-pronged methodological approach by firstly conducting a holistic literature review which gives an analysis of similar research on the issue of the blood feud and secondly by collecting data from 17 key informants during my fieldwork in Albania and Kosovo. In order to understand the phenomenon of living law through a social analysis of blood feud, the theory of Ehrlich ́s living law has been applied. The main findings; Children especially in rural areas of the north continue to be affected by the blood feud phenomenon, affecting their social, mental and educational life (school). People living in remote rural areas of the north use living law to solve their problems rather than state law or its institutions. State has not enough experience and funds in social policies and the protection of children's rights. NGOs are the key actors that are dealing with this phenomenon and who are also assisting the country with the methods in social policies and funds to enforce laws for this sector. The political changes and the ban for 50 years in the communist times to use living law in Albania has made it to be used differently in the aspect of blood feud including children and women in revenge.
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