Hasluck, Margaret Masson Hardie, 1885-1948. The unwritten law in Albania

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Publication Information


Title: The unwritten law in Albania

Published By: Cambridge: University Press, 1954. xv, 285 p.: map

By line: By the late Margaret Hasluck. Edited by J. H. Hutton

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: HRAF, 2012. Computer File

Culture: Albanians (EG01)

Subjects: Legal norms (671); Household (592); Kinship terminology (601); Kin relationships (602); Status, role, and prestige (554); Status and treatment of the aged (888); Trial procedure (695); Inter-community relations (628); Real property (423); Inter-community relations (628); Tribe and nation (619);

Abstract: This study of customary law in Albania, based on the authors 13 years of actual residence in that country, represents a unique contribution, particularly in view of the dearth of Albanian ethnographic materials available in English. Although concerned primarily with the tribal laws and legal procedures of the northern Albanian Highlanders, the book sheds considerable light on little known aspects of Albanian life, such as the composition of the Albanian family, family relationships, kinship organizations, the general pattern of village and tribal life, and the functioning of General Assemblies on the tribal and local level. Concepts of property rights and accepted methods for dealing with their violation are discussed in detail, as is the role of oath-taking of compurgators, and of community elders as law-makers and arbiters. The precise conventions regulating the blood-feud, so characteristic of Albanian social inter-relationships, are set forth in great detail. Regional and local variations in custom and law are also shown. The author, whose death in 1948 prevented her from completing the work herself, had training as a folklorist and served after her departure from Albania in 1939 as principal briefing agent for British Intelligence operations into Albania during the war. An appendix of recorded laws and an index are supplied at the end of the book, as is a map showing the geographic distribution of Highland tribes.

Document Number: 10

Document ID: eg01-010

Document Type: Monograph

Language: English

Note: 'Laws passed at General Assemblies (translated from the original Albanian)': p. 261-274.

Field Date: 1926-1939

Evaluation: Classicist, Linguist-5

Analyst: Jack Crane ; 1956

Coverage Date: 1900-1939

Coverage Place: Northern Albania

LCSH: Customary law--Albania//Albania--Social conditions


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