Dmitriev V. Intermediation in Resolving Casual Conflicts in the Culture of Caucasian Highlanders

Vladimir Dmitriev
The Russian Museum of Ethnography
Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation
ORCID: 0000-0002-0011-5153
E-mail: dmitriev_home@mail.ru

 

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ABSTRACT. The article contains references to the manifestations of mediation in the public relations of the peoples of the North Caucasus and Dagestan, focusing on a particular form of mediation, i.e. participation of mediators in conflict resolution. Mediation not only led to reconciliation between the parties and equalization of their social positions, but also ended the chain of their mutual claims. The article examines the conditions and practice of using mediation by the mountaineers of the Caucasus and the transfer of mediation to objects of material culture and animals, mediation being considered as a general institution for resolving problems in the relations between patronymies and lineages, including marriage ones. The behavior of the mediators was seen as a sacred act. Through mediators, the communities declared what was accepted by everyone as truth and was aimed at ending the conflict. The litigation with the mediators was carried out until a consent between the parties was achieved, or at least until the consent between the mediators themselves. A key element of the trial was the oath, which turned the statements of the parties, in the presence of the mediators, into a legal fact that all participants in the trial had to accept. In a number of cases, when taking the oath did not contribute to the identification of the desired truth, the participants could resort to the testimony of the so-called “proofer”, a person who performed the functions of an “investigator”. For the proofer himself, participation in the trial was not a safe matter, and it can be assumed that he was protected by the authority of the mediators.

 

KEYWORDS: Caucasus, conflict, intermediation, reconciliation, oath

 

DOI 10.31250/2618-8619-2021-4(14)-122-132

УДК 340.141

 

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