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Legal dynamics in a border area

Between customary law and state law

Nebi Bardhoshi

This article considers factors that have effected and influenced the continuity of the customary law named the Kanun of Lek Dukagjini in some areas of Albanian and Kosovo. It draws on ethnographic data on the border area villages between Albania and Kosovo to discuss the dynamics and tensions that are created between state and non-state law vis-à-vis justice in highly complex and problematic social, economic, and political contexts. Customary law and state law seem to be two conflicting legal ideologies. However, the article considers everyday settings where people make use of both legal systems in order to regulate matters especially related to property issues. The new legal realities create around property ownership imply new type of relations vis-à-vis family and kinship structures which oscillate between the two systems.