Having witnessed massive migrations, forced expulsions and unprecedented ethno-geographical reconfigurations, he knew how much a border can be loaded with a cultural meaning that transcends its spatial dimensions. To be aware of this was all the more urgent at a historic time of transition, rebuilding and opening, when linguistic-cultural policies could be a means of promoting integration and accepting the "foreigner. Lotman clearly explains this last acceptation of the term izgoi in when talking about the relation between culture and intellectuality intelligentnost' , namely the capacity to distinguish what indifferent eyes are unable to perceive:.
Often these were people who had been thrown out of the social order or had cut ties with it themselves, namely restless individuals who were not able to get comfortable in a given social environment. They cannot yet be called intellectuals, but this is the soil, the environment from which they will grow. They were somehow not welcomed by society and everywhere they felt alien, ill-at-ease and full of criticism LOTMAN, , pp. These different and rather free people-outlaws vol'nitsa and wandering people-were the soil where a "new humanity" with a broader mind and a more acute conscience started to emerge: in Lotman's vision, marginality by choice or force of circumstance , freedom and intellectuality are considered a complete whole.
Returning to Lotman and Uspensky's essay, although they focus mainly on the figure of the izgoi until the 16thth century, 3 this term is still used to define all those social situations in which the individual is on the margins of the human community, in a condition of incommunicability and isolation. It is no coincidence that the famous film starring Tom Hanks, Cast Away , has been translated into Russian with the word izgoi.
The izgoinichestvo condition, according to the two exponents of the so-called Semiotic School of Tartu-Moscow, 5 is strongly spatial in nature because outcasts are those who live far from the borders of order and organization or, in other words, far from the culture. The borders, or limits granitsy -another fundamental concept of Lotmanian theory-, are all those geographical-territorial, linguistic and ideological elements that mark the, so to speak, legitimate space from the abusive one or, simply, the one without any identity.
It is significant that when many people of this type come together, from their internal point of view they form a type of community soobschestvo , but from the viewpoint of a given society's classification system, they do not form any community but remain an amorphous mass of individual, "rogue" people LOTMAN; USPENSKY, , p. We can see situations where this condition existed but do not necessarily refer to ancient Rus' as, for example, the lepers in medieval Europe, who were destined to live in the non-place of the leprosarium, isolated and cursed.
It also recalls the phenomenon of the witch-hunts in medieval and early modern Europe when women were publicly burnt at the stake for being poor and alone widows or unmarried. They lived on the margins of village society and were considered strange and, to a certain extent, rebels. Nowadays, the so-called sotsial'nyi izgoi , in its most extreme and dramatic form, is a kind of social leper, a person who lives in an intermediate, "suspended" position, on the fringes of any social group, or one who establishes relatively few interpersonal relationships with others.
I would like to emphasize the fact that the subtitle of the essay is The 'Own' and the 'Alien' in the History of Russian Culture. In other words, the condition of marginalization, with all its possible negative associations being expelled, rejected, exiled, excluded, stigmatized, reneged, banished from the social environment of belonging, or treated like a fugitive has to do with the creation of a cultural, conventional space considered one's own svoe : legal, rightful, preferable and necessarily extendable to the space of others.
If we were to approach Lotman's work from beginning to end and vice versa, we could probably affirm that the problem of conflict generated by the presence of the other 9 -which is often summed up in a spatial image-is the guiding thread of his culturological reflection. It is an opposition that is played out on the border, as a place of dialogue or, on the contrary, of exacerbation for those who are different chuzhoe. As the Georgian slavist Nina Kauchtschischwili, a famous authority on Lotman, wrote, "Dialogism is crystallized [ Having witnessed the massive migrations, forced evictions and unprecedented ethno-geographical reconfigurations created ad hoc by the Stalinist regime, Lotman was aware of how much a border can carry a cultural meaning that transcends its spatial dimensions.
In fact, we must interpret the essay and other writings that follow it as a courageous attempt to denounce, through the figure of izgoi , the linguistic-cultural policies of the Soviet Union, which, as it is known, was essentially a Russia-centric state, even though a multiethnic federation was proclaimed. From his youth, Lotman had personally experienced the condition of izgoinichestvo after being exiled to the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic for his Jewish roots.
It is no coincidence that in the context of an "outlying" country, he elaborates its cultural semiotics through the cardinal categories of "centre" and "periphery," which, it must be said, are not exclusively the fruit of his theoretical genius, but were already part of the geopolitical and ethnic imagery of Stalinist times. From the heart of Moscow, the Kremlin radiated its Russianness over all of its non-Russian peripheral territories, turning the union into an empire through a campaign of exaltation of Mother Russia and the repression of minorities.
Initially the Soviet Union was characterized by a policy of exalting individual nationalities because Bolshevism desperately sought "to consolidate its rule over the periphery" and, in order to do this, it had to implement a policy of resizing the centre, i. Russian nationalism. However, the "putting down of roots"-the so-called policy of korenizatsiya 11 indigenization or nativization -had a short life. In the s, and especially after , Lotman's language became less opaque, less metaphorical, so to speak, in terms of social criticism.
It is not surprising, for example, that in his essay, Dynamics of Cultural Systems unpublished in Russian and here translated from Italian , he develops the izgoi concept through the figure of the barbarian , the one who babbles according to Greek etymology , in other words, the one who is incapable of being understood, and therefore, a foreigner-a condition from which infinite derogatory adjectives can be inferred: rude, savage, primitive, uncivilized, cruel, ferocious, inhuman, bloodthirsty.
The ancient Greeks regarded as barbarians the Persians and Egyptians, who surpassed them by the richness of their cultural traditions; the Romans considered the Carthaginians and Greeks barbarians. In other words, since they themselves were barbarians, they accused the heirs of previous civilizations of barbarism. This list of "despicable strangers" would later include the Arabs, Turks, and the Chinese. In the same way, the Arabs [ Barbarians are such, according to the adopted perspective, as it happens with minorities the non-culture , that sometimes they are even numerically superior to the majority but, in the self-perception of the latter, they are considered a limited group.
It is the case of the women in medieval and early modern European culture: a minority considered "a perfidious 'Satanic army' punishable by annihilation" LOTMAN, , p. Since culture is a closed concept, it necessarily presupposes a non-culture as its antipodes, which lies outside its border. Usually, according to the ideas of the given culture, alien forces are located outside its territorial boundaries. We are then led by Lotman to always think about culture through a double, opposing viewpoint: centre and periphery, culture and non-culture, tradition and barbarity, own space and alien space.
These are two instances of the same social-historical process, marked by the subjectivity of the adopted perspective and the unpredictability of its results since, Lotman notes, "The 'barbarian' of yesterday, which was outside [ The author offers these reflections at a time of historical transition and opening of the Soviet Union, when linguistic-cultural policies could be a means to promote the integration and acceptance of the "alien.
It is not a surprise that, according to Lotman and Uspensky, the strengthening of the identity of the "foreigner" in the heart of a culture passes through language and, precisely, through the creation of sub-languages, which are incomprehensible to the centre:. The situation of izgoinichestvo stimulates the creation of argot. This is especially evident in cases when marginalization takes shape in community forms. The reflection on argot is very effective for introducing the topic of female migrant writing.
The two women to whom this contribution is dedicated show in fact a vital need to include in their works written in Italian untranslatable and "inconceivable" words-a sort of literary argot-which have the purpose of highlighting their fundamental foreign identities. Igiaba Scego cannot pronounce the ineffective word "decadence" to tell the story of her family; she can only repeat the maternal expressions " Hoog, balaayo, musiibo, kasaro, qalalaas " SCEGO, , p.
This originality has made them subjects that are hardly classifiable within the classical Italian literary canon, which is often presented, in Lotmanian terms, as a "centre," a closed, normative space where it is difficult for women to find a place. It is worth remembering that the now internationally established Italian writer, Elsa Morante, preferred to be called "the poet" not poetess , using the pen name Antonio or Lorenzo, and Natalia Ginzburg commented regarding her writings from her youth: "at the time I wanted terribly to write like a man and I had a horror of anyone realizing from what I wrote that I was a woman" GINZBURG, , p.
This is even more certain if the writer is a foreigner. An exile is a half a creature. Roots were torn off, life was mutilated, hope was gutted, the origin was removed, the identity was stripped. The historical and conceptual framework that I have just presented opens the door to a phenomenon that runs across contemporary Italian literature, placing unprecedented questions on the very idea of the national canon and culture and on the possibilities of shifting public discourses on women voices-voices burned, silenced, and manipulated by millennia of history SCEGO, , p.
Just at a time when Europe is strengthening its borders, entrenching itself behind new and anachronistic nationalisms, 21 migrant women and men are choosing the pen as a means to create original spaces for intercultural dialogues. This is the case of Elvira Dones, an Albanian writer who, in her novel Sworn Virgin Vergine giurata , written in , introduces the figure of the burrnesha , a social "eventuality" completely alien to the culture of Western Europe but present in the neighboring Balkans Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia, and Dalmatian Zagora.
It is about a woman who, as foreseen by the archaic Albanian customary law, the Kanun, 22 made an eternal vow of chastity and changed her gender status. By wearing men's clothes and gradually transforming her body through a codified set of male behaviours, the burrnesha aspired to live a more independent life, which would not have been allowed by the patriarchal system still in place in certain rural areas of the Balkans.
The novel tells the story of Hana, forced by life's circumstances to become "the head of the family," even if her dream was to study philology and become "a poet" DONES, , p. Her uncle had hardly been able to breathe. There wasn't a blade of grass for the animals to eat, and she, at nineteen, had Walt Whitman's poems in her unopened suitcase. She wanted to get back to that book, but her uncle was there in front of her, more dead than alive.
She was the only girl in the village enrolled in college. She hadn't wanted children, all she had wanted was books. To avoid disappointing her dying uncle and leaving the Doda family without an heir but, instead, with deep social shame and after suffering an attempted rape , Hana renames herself Mark. Her voice gets deeper and hoarser, she starts smoking like a chimney, drinking grappa and walking around with a rifle, thus embodying markedly male stereotypes.
Her outer figure is socially integrated, but her inner self body, emotions, memories, sensitivity, will, desires is eradicated in a condition of incommunicability and isolation. Her false, imposed masculinity becomes a boundary that creates a space of misunderstanding and apathy around her: "Why did you do it? Culture, by incorporating her into its codes and discourses, transforms her into a pariah, a babbling creature, an amorphous being, alien to herself. At the end of the slow path that leads her to leave "Mark," a path marked by the plea "please, there's no rush," Hana breaks the sworn virgin oath and discovers her body again, breaking the nucleus of death, apathy and ugliness that had taken hold of her during seventeen years of captivity:.
Hana tries to bring her attention back to her body. The man that she thought would still be tenaciously inhabiting her is no longer there. That man was only a carapace. Lila [the cousin] was right: Mark Doda's life had been no more than the sum total of the masculine gestures Hana had forced herself to imitate, in the skin worn leathery by bad food and lack of attention.
It is no coincidence that the body is one of her privileged subjects, where the deposit of the physical and psychological scars with which the violence of prostitution and war the systematic war violations in Yugoslavia and Kosovo as an instrument of ethnic cleansing has marked women. In Perfect Little War the atrocious description of the violence experienced by a little Kosovar girl is "counterbalanced" by public opinion:. Meanwhile, Europe is terrified: it fears that at the end of the war, instead of returning to their burned houses, the homeless of Kosovo end up flooding it as the Albanians did after the collapse of the communist regime DONES, , p.
If in Elvira Dones it is imperative to reflect on women in the context of the Albanian migratory exodus initiated after the Soviet implosion, then in a writer like Igiaba Scego the heart and poetics of her writing is in the reflection on postcolonial identities. Reflecting on the diaspora of her loved ones, scattered throughout Europe, Scego observes: "Each of us had a different Western citizenship in our pockets, but in our hearts we had the pain of the same loss. Instead Africans always study the history of others. So we were convinced that we were descendants of the Romans or the Gauls instead of the Yoruba and the ancient Egyptians.
Writing becomes the means through which Scego seeks to call for a debate on the inaction that has characterized Italian postcolonial reflection, which was never thoroughly analyzed or was simply confronted with soft and condescending tones:. Italy had forgotten its colonial past. It had failed to remember that it had put Somalis, Eritreans, Libyans, and Ethiopians through hell. It had cancelled that piece of history with an easy, clean slate.
This does not mean that Italians were worse than other colonizing people. However, they were like the others. The Italians raped, killed, mocked, polluted, plundered, and humiliated the populations with whom they came into contact. Yet, in many of these countries, after the end of the Second World War, there was a discussion, people came to blows, and the exchanges of views were harsh and impetuous; the question about imperialism and its crimes had been raised; many studies were published and the debate influenced literary, non-fiction, film and music production.
The Italian-African writer wants to give a voice to the neglected people especially women who are a product of migrations and who are hidden in the cracks of the borders, 35 making them feel exiled without a centre, like an amorphous mass accumulated in the non-places of the cities. This voice in search of dialogue and recognition is even stronger today in light of a highly problematic migration situation in Italy-in which, for example, the stereotype of the parasitic low-skilled migrant is very widespread-, a crescent populism, and a tendency to ghettoize different people especially through a non-inclusive manipulation of the urban fabric.
In fact, it is in the station, the unlivable place -using the words of Lotman and Uspensky , p. For years I felt threatened by the burden of pain and hope that [the station] Termini embodied. I wanted to be somewhere else besides that place. I perceived it as an obstacle to my formation.
I didn't know yet that a peaceful life could not ignore it, because my origins were placed there, because my umbilical cord was buried there. In Mexico, a legend says that the house is the place where the umbilical cord is buried, the source from which you took nourishment before you were born. It is impossible not to think of what Henri Lefebvre wrote about the organizing function of the space currently operated by the European states.
The look of the old continent today no longer extends outwards-in search of others' lands-but inwards, and one of its main activities is to reconstruct space, regularize flows, and control networks LEFEBVRE, , p. Figure 7. A multiple household might contain as many as twenty persons, a goodly enough number but only a pale reflexion of past glories. All over north Albania it used to be the custom for brothers, first and even second cousins to live with their wives and children, and probably several aged uncles and aunts and young sisters, under the same roof.
Pouqueville clearly does not consider the duties of the household head very arduous: His occupation is to maintain his arms, to provide care for his shoes, prepare his cartridges, maintain ammunition for war; and the rest of his time is spent smoking and vegetating. The disdainful warrior believed himself to be demeaned by manual labor; he waits for his family to do everything; taciturn, he holds the stick of leadership in his hand; he demands attention, services and help from those who depend on him; and he is never concerned with the details of domestic life except to trade or sell the surplus of produce.
If the household head becomes too old or frail, a new head may be nominated either by the outgoing head or by group decision; the transition could All being equal the new head would be the oldest son. However, other attributes are considered, for example administrative ability and knowledge of the customary law. With such families numbering up to as many as l00 and even more persons, it is obvious that this is a very significant position; its prestige is far greater than that of an ordinary man, and not one attained by all men. As a sworn virgin is chosen to head a family when no other suitable male is available, it is likely that such a family is less extensive.
The actions of the headman must be conducted with the good of the household in mind, he should be watchful that the land does not remain uncultivated and that the animals are in good health. He should obtain clothes for his group, be fair and unbiased. If someone wants to enter the house, it is the leader that they call on. The household head makes decisions for the whole extended family concerning all matters: marriage, education, employment, even the clothing of any of its members.
Ian Whitaker further outlines many other duties of the zot i shpis including the purchase of a rifle for each youth in the family on reaching the age when he might be involved in a bloodfeud. Amongst other duties, the household head represents the family at village meetings. As such a representative he is elegible, if chosen by the community, to become a village-chief kryeplak.
Margaret Hasluck details some of these: The master received no money payments for his services but enjoyed certain privileges. His clothes were often newer and of better cloth than those of his subordinates; more silver chains crossed his breast, and more silver rings glittered on his fingers. He was entitled to have his own bedding and coffee utensils and to keep them until he died. If he chose to buy himself a riding horse, a watch, or arms richly inlaid with silver and bright stones, he might do so.
His subordinates, though left to walk while he rode, to learn the time from the sun by day and from the crowing of a cock at night, and to content themselves with the plainest of rifles and revolvers, did not seem to resent his magnificence. He represented the family, and the worthier he appeared in externals as well as in mind and character, the greater the glory reflected on each of them.
In Albanian society, the so-called Lord of the House is a revered institution, the decision maker for the whole clan. Reineck also notes the importance of the oda or main living room which This is also the room to which male and foreign guests are brought. Property Ownership and Inheritance As already pointed out above, property is owned corporately by the family, administered by the household head. During the s, large closely-knit families were still the norm in rural northern Albania and Kosov ; however, there has been a decline in total self-sufficiency.
In Kosov , despite its more fertile land, the increased population, along with partible inheritance, resulted in less land per family. Throughout the s, men were forced to go further afield to find a living, thousands emigrated for years at a time, sending money home to keep the rest of the family together, guarding its property. Migrant Kosovars were able to earn enough to increase the collective material wealth sufficiently to bring back cars, televisions, washing machines and other goods to raise the living standard in ways which were not possible in Albania itself at that time.
Some put their money towards part shares with other families in tractors and other items with which to help increase production from their land. This has not been the case in Albania, even since , where the very recent novelty of consumer goods has prioritized televisions and modern household equipment over goods whose immediate satisfaction is not felt. Sometimes such equipment as washing machines stand only as a status symbol in houses without running water and only a rudimentary and erratic electrical system without the power needed for more than a meagre lighting system.
While the importance of agriculture slightly declined in Kosov , it remained the way of life for the majority in northern Albania for another decade. Patrilineality ensures the principles of male inheritance. The Kanun spells out clearly that only sons from age fifteen shall inherit. It also details a kinship system whereby relationships through the male side are known as stemming from The Tree of Blood and those through the female side as stemming from The Tree of Milk.
She, along with all the contents would then also become his property. Her husband had built the two-roomed house in which she had lived with him and their children. Lane found it extraordinary that on his death it was decided that the widows brother-in-law and a total of sixteen family members should move in with her.
This is a custom practised more in southern Albania than in the north, whereby the youngest daughter in a family may bring her new husband to her birth home to live. Such a man may be from a family of many sons where he will not be missed there as an inheritor. His own family may prefer not to have to find space for yet another family in their home. This man is known as a kollovar, and whilst it resolves the problem of care for the daughters parents in their old age, the status of the kollovar is somewhat diminished by moving into his wifes home. Backers concluding hypothesis, with its Marxian emphasis, is that in the end it is the availability of land with the ratio of land to labour which is the generating factor of economic and social change, given this particular structure.
Milk Rights: a Womans Place To be a woman is basically an occupational status, if seen socially. Her parents do not interfere in her affairs, but they bear the responsibility for her and must answer for anything dishonorable that she does. The preservation of this law continued to be demonstrated until quite recent times, the bridegrooms parents giving the groom a cartridge on the wedding day. Figure 8. Grues mos i shif hundet, po punet. Kirsten Senturia White: They point out that should anyone outside the family dishonour a woman, such offence would be considered a shameful attack, and appropriate action would be taken.
However, it is the familys honour rather than that of the woman herself which is at stake: a matter which could possibly result in blood vengeance. A woman is the possession first of her fathers household, and on marriage, of her husbands, in whose family she remains the most inferior person until she bears a son. For a man to obtain a wife, she must be directly or indirectly given to him by another man who, in the simplest case is posited as father or brother. Such phrases are used as The Albanians sell their women, The Albanians may shoot their women if they please, and Among the Albanians a woman is worth less than a donkey.
However, within the Kanun an act of domestic violence, where deemed appropriate, is seen as a form of social justice. Betrothal: Arranged Marriage David Gilmore comments that One specific domain of Mediterranean culture that seems to provide solid analytical analogies, despite some formal diversity, is that of male-female relations.
According to tradition, it is expected that a couple should not meet before their marriage.
Usually girls are curious to know what their future husband looks like, but it is considered shameful to show an interest. Backer explains that if a man possessed a photograph of his fianc it could be taken as proof that he was having an illicit relationship with her, for which she in particular would receive extreme and lifelong condemnation. In the rural areas there is little opportunity for socializing in mixed groups, much less to form relationships of a sexual nature.
Girls have to stay at home and are constantly employed with household chores and carrying firewood and water. They have little interaction outside the home, and even now are sometimes prevented from attending school. Boys, with no household duties, are free to meet friends and leave their homes unrestricted. Men do no work in the house and are served, even having their feet washed by women. On the other hand, although it was assumed that men naturally had sexual desires, they were not considered real men if they demonstrated interest in women: A man who either was very attractive to women and a flirt, or who fell in love, was more or less considered a weak man.
He was not really reliable, often called a fool and considered a vain person not being able to control himself properly for love was the unfortunate inclination of the young and inexperienced and was definitely not expected to decide the future of a household. Figure 9. A Bektashi sheh and his very young bride it was he who insisted on the roses. Traditionally the new bride receives little comfort from her husband, for she should not be seen communicating in any way with him; if it is essential, she should do so in whispers.
Hasluck reports this as the normal practise. I had not yet reached puberty and could not yet sleep with my husband. My husband helped me to grow up, but he beat me when I played with other girls my own age. He told me not to raise my head up while walking to the field or going to the mountain to cut wood. I had to look down and fix my gaze on the tips of my shoes. Ours was a typical patriarchal family.
We the women of the family never had the right to speak to our husbands in front of others. It was considered to be shameful to do that. The women in our house never entered a room where the men were gathered to talk, drink coffee, or eat lunch. It was the duty of the women to prepare and bring coffee, food, etc. We had to work and bear children. I gave birth to a total of eleven children. When I was pregnant I had to keep my pregnancy secret from the people in the house and from my husband. It was considered shameful to be pregnant.
When our daughters grew up and the time to marry them came, only my husband had the right to decide on such a problem. I was not asked at all to give my opinion about my daughters marriage. The above still holds true to this day in many rural areas in northern Albania, and relates equally to sworn virgins as decision-makers. In other parts of Albania, mixed-group social activities are acceptable amongst students, but even these are usually only amongst known and respected colleagues.
Robert Carver portrays a similar picture of a woman in Radomire. The traditions of patrilocality ensure that a young bride marries outside her own village and moves into the home of her husbands family. Marriages may be arranged by parents as early as the time of birth or even before. It is an old practise that men may exchange children or sisters as a token of their friendship. This may be in two instalments, the first upon agreement of the price, the second at the time of the marriage.
The value of the girl traditionally lay in her purity and her willingness and ability to work hard. Durham enquired about bride-price wherever she went, and found that it varied considerably by area. In many places there was a general agreement that it would not exceed a certain sum. She commented on the fact that in Pulati and Dukagjin the bride-price was lower than elsewhere, and that an elderly widow might change hands for a rifle!
Backers informant explained: When we are evaluating a prospective son-in-law, first we look at his personality, then his family. But when a daughter-in-law is selected, the whole family on both sides is examined first, then the girl. There is a stress on the family of the wife, compared to that of an outmarried sister. As a girls family needs to be sure that she is worthy of her bride-price and acceptable to the family she will marry into, they need to restrict any possible Figure It is usual for women to perform two, three or even more tasks all at the same time.
AY: Boga, Even today in Albania, girls schooling and activities may be severely curtailed in order to ensure their good reputations. Although Post found that some teenagers were breaking from the old norms of arranged marriages by marrying for love, still many families keep their teenage girls away from secondary school believing it is a place for love stories. She interviewed Ina, a teenage girl who told her: The bride is presented to the women from the bridegrooms family who have just arrived to bring her to her new home.
The reception for the groom and the men of both families are in another house. I didnt win and that was a shock, but what came after was the real shock. I wanted to go on dancing, but couldnt. Because all the village gossiped about me. They called me a bad girl. Even the children in school brought this opinion of me from home. When I was only twelve I received a letter accusing me of being a prostitute. I wanted to make up for this opinion so for three years I stayed closed up and away from others.
Similarly, other teenagers whom Post interviewed were prevented by their parents from attending secondary school or university for fear that they might be injured, raped or simply fall in love and marry someone without regard to traditional arrangements. In some areas girls are permitted to work in the fields outside the home, but in others young girls, those engaged and even the young married women are kept within the family compound, away from the possible sight of men.
Beyond the Wedding Day From the day of her marriage her husbands name in the possessive form is used when speaking of her. Backer confirms the maintenance of this control: Bride at her wedding reception. The bride is the energetic young addition to the workforce, potential bearer of future inheritors to the home and land. She is the only person who does not share in the celebrations following the wedding ceremony.
She stands, eyes downcast while all the guests partake of the lavish quantities of food and drink. Several observers have described her plight; Rose Wilder Lane wrote: Bride being fetched from her fathers home. AY: outside Shkodr, When the bride arrives at her husbands house she takes a humble place in the corner, standing, her hands folded on her breast, her eyes downcast, and for three days and nights she is required to remain in that position, without lifting her eyes, without moving, and without eating or drinking.
On the second day. Janet Reineck describes the situation more vividly: In a high mountain village it is the morning after a wedding. A rooster crows. It must be day, but still dark. And cold. Her eyes sting, her head aches from too little sleep, from the cold. She isnt groggy. She wakes into a chilling awareness of her new life, and her new name, Bride. The awareness stings her, rushes her pulse. The awareness, the sting, will hit her, wrench her from sleep, day after day, for months, for years, gradually diminishing, becoming ritual, habit, as she molds herself to fit her new persona.
When she goes to her new husbands home she is known as nuse new bride until another son marries. During the first month of marriage a new bride is expected to be dressed in her best clothing and be ready at any time for visitors coming to meet her to approve her as a worthy new addition to the household. Many of the women whom Post interviewed, described their arranged marriages, and accepted them as the norm. Even when their situations seem far from ideal, women manage to accept them with resignation.
I worked only a short time because my parents arranged a marriage for me. I was engaged and married quickly, knowing nothing of my husband or his family. It was worse than I expected it to be and I have had to face all kinds of hardships alone. Although my husband has treated me badly, I couldnt consider divorce because of the social consequences I would suffer.
I dont feel that I am unusual because most of the Albanian women are under the dictatorship of their husbands. The ritual sobbing of a bride at leaving her parents home signifies her own loss of identity. It may well be a sad day for her as she leaves the familiarity of her own extended family which she is likely never to have left before. The young couple probably meet for the first time on their wedding day. The new family is a cohesive group who remain in the bridegrooms home. Through the practise of exogamy, daughters born into the family cannot expect to spend their adulthood with those with whom they are familiar.
The wives brought into the home are likely to be strangers to one another, though they must learn their hierarchical place and work together under the direction of the wife of the head of the household. Women do visit their blood family at times. The frequency depends not only on the distance between families, but also on the attitude of the new family to the womans absence or rather the Since marriage is exogamous and transport invariably on foot, such visits require time and effort to achieve. A woman is likely to take her small children with her on such visits, but none whose productive work would be missed as the visit can extend to as long as a month at a time.
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It is taken for granted that women marry and have children. Carver met a middle-aged woman who was in the unusual position of not having married; he describes her attempts to present her domestic situation to fit the normal servile mould: Angeliki has had the misfortune never to be married. Gabriel had told me seriously. Not to be married, not to have children in Albania was regarded as a catastrophe. Angelikis brother and his family were away. Angeliki was alone in the family house. Angeliki had no pretensions at all to being either modern or Western. I was a man, the man of the house, in the absence of any other.
Everything thus centred around my comfort and gastronomic demands. She managed to round up three of her young nieces and a nephew, who were brought in to complete the ersatz family circle. Thus I would be seated at the head of the table, while the oldest niece, perhaps five years old, solemnly served me raki. The nieces and nephew chattered on to Angeliki in Albanian, while I smiled on, a vicarious, mute patriarch. This was as close as Angeliki would ever get to being married. The preference for boy babies is a worldwide phenomenon.
In some societies men take second and even third wives if a first one does not produce a son. This preference did not change in the new Albanian society: mothers still needed consolation at the birth of a daughter. Valentini spoke of a man who believed there was no way to be allowed entry into Heaven without a son, essential for life after death in order to take care of the deceaseds soul. To offset the difficulties and hardships of mothers, those who bear sons gain not only status, but also a very close bond with their sons.
Traditionally a sons love for his mother is considered a duty; its demonstration is laudable. Backer notes that when sons come of age, they are the ones to protect their mother who has defended them while young. A man admits to crying upon a mothers death, but not on that of his wife. Men also have close relationships with their sisters, often defending them from unfair decisions made by the rest of the family, or, in recent years, helping them financially towards getting an education. A mother may also find great comfort from her daughters until marriage takes their loyalty to a different household.
It remains true that considerable sexual repression exists especially in traditional rural society. Sex is not discussed or even acknowledged amongst most women and extra-marital sex is theoretically non-existent, rare and severely punishable. Sex for women has always been seen to serve purely a procreative function. Birth control remains little known and undesired, large families are the norm, and the hope of always one more son is reason enough not to seek ways of preventing conception. Childrearing is a communal responsibility. Girls are trained from early childhood as homecleaners and caterers, while boys are allowed the freedom to play outside the home.
These traditions survived through the Communist changes more firmly in the north than elsewhere. Posts interviewee, Fitore, voices this: My parents taught me to be honest, frank, and sincere, to have respect for others and to be hospitable. Since they were from the northern part of Albania, hospitality was part of their personality. I remember my mother primarily as working, washing, and keeping house. She didnt have much education, but she was wellrespected and managed her family well. Fitore, however, mentions that there were many books in her home and she was encouraged to read.
Carver describes his observation of sex role differentiation amongst some children: I was able to watch the Frasheris grandchildren at play in the garden as I sat and ate cherries with their grandfather. They had no toys at all, and their game always revolved around the older boys chasing, catching and beating the younger boys, while the girls watched; then the younger boys escaping and in turn chasing the girls, catching them and then beating them and making them squeal.
None of the adults interfered or mediated in these exchanges. This catch-and-beat play was confined to the garden. Girls never chased or beat, but were purely passive. Women Who Become Men Once in the house this play ceased, and the girls had to wait upon the adult males as they were bidden, while the boys were cossetted and fondled by their female adult relatives. Girls were never cossetted or fondled by either adult males or females; their role was to wait upon the men inside the house, and to be chased and beaten in the garden.
Beyond the garden the girls were not allowed to go, though the boys could play in the lane outside. Even more recently Dr. Michael Ruttenberg, working with Kosovar refugees in the Stenkovic camp in Macedonia, noted that There was a swimming hole for the kids but no girls swimming. Only boys. The Death of a Husband Levirate, the practise of a widow automatically being married to her dead husbands brother or even cousin or uncle, is still observed on occasion to this day.
The widow may find no way to avoid the situation as she is not free to leave the family who have paid her bride-price, without their permission. More than one such case has come to the notice of immigration authorities in Canada and the United States, where the widow has managed to escape by seeking asylum in order to avoid what in Canada is deemed to be forced marriage. Division of Labour The Kanun gives a detailed description of the rigidly gendered division of labour by which people live in the northern Albanian Alps.
Traditional mens work, and exactly the same applies for sworn virgins, includes all heavy manual work: ploughing, hoeing, harrowing, manure spreading, chopping wood, scything, mowing, harvesting, watering and maintaining irrigation systems, protecting animals and property; it also includes being a host: talking to visitors, drinking and smoking with them, and avenging family honour this last task is of extreme importance, taking precedence over all others, as discussed at some length in Chapter 5. The more specific tasks of household heads, as the family decision-makers, has already been discussed p.
All men are included in the negotiations upon which the family head will make the final decision. Women on the other hand are privy to none of them, and will only know of changed plans, even ones which affect their whole lives, once the decision has been made. Women at work at the communal village water source, constantly busy but never overcrowded. All these tasks are performed without running water. Additionally they must assist men at times of particular harvesting, collecting and transporting the produce, and at times the older women may be expected to help milk the sheep in their summer pastures.
Women may also be seen spinning or knitting at the same time as performing several of the above tasks. Backer calculates that women provide as much as 60 per cent of the work of men in agricultural primary production, besides performing all the domestic The wooden water casket keeps the water cooler than plastic containers.
Campbells study of institutions and moral values in a Greek mountain community apply equally to the northern Albanian case: clearly manliness and shame are complementary qualities in relation to honour. The manliness of the men in any family protects the sexual honour of its women from external insult or outrage. The women must have shame if the manliness of the men is not to be dishonoured. See also Donert, C. Goldsworthy, V. Denich, B. Denich , Sex and Power in the Balkans.
She wrote in a form which is accessible not only to specialists. She claims that the ancestors of the Albanians, the Illyrians were absorbed by the inrushing Slav, and that they professed Christianity for some fifteen centuries; see Durham, M. Reineck, J. D thesis, University of California at Berkeley, p.
Backer , Behind the Stone Walls, p. Backer , Behind the Stone Walls, pp. The exact size and shape of the vilayets varied as power was differently exerted. Women Who Become Men Present-day boundaries do not exactly co-incide with earlier ones which bordered areas of the same name. See Malcolm, N. For example the Frashri brothers: Abdyl , Naim and Sami Abdyl was the most influential member of the League of Prizren founded in , he was imprisoned for his political activities. Naim and Sami were prolific writers on matters of Albanian national awakening.
Naim published work concerning the emancipation of women and universal education. Sami devised an Albanian alphabet at a time when there was no standard Albanian alphabet which was accepted by the alphabet Committee of , though later banned under Ottoman rule. The term shtpie, originating from the Tosk dialect of the South, is that incorporated into the standardized language Unified Literary Albanian or ULA approved in The more commonly known term anthropologically is zadruga, the Serbo-Croatian name. This is probably due to the fact that until it was only possible for Western anthropologists to study the phenomenon in Yugoslavia, where these large families were common both amongst Serbs and Albanians; however the language used for research is likely to have been Serbo-Croatian rather than Albanian, even in Kosov , because permission to conduct the research would have to be sought through the Serb capital, Belgrade.
See for example Erlich, V. Stahl, P. Steele, J. And heres how to do it, in The Guardian. Reineck , The Past as Refuge, p. Ann Christine Eek photographer who worked with Backer, reports on Isniq following attacks by the Yugoslav Army which started in On 4 and 5 April the people mostly women and children, many men had already left were forced to leave their homes, which were then plundered. Their identity papers were confiscated and they were sent off on tractors towards Albania.
Before they reached nearby Deani, they saw their houses burning. Reineck uses the form shtpia. I have found considerable disagreement over the exact spelling and use of this word, but quote from correspondence with the writer and translator, Robert Elsie 17 April : It simply depends how you look at it.
Standard Albanian has stpi whereas Gheg dialect including formerly, literature in Gheg uses shpi. Shpi is also the spoken form heard throughout northern and central Albania, including Tirana. Someone from Tirana would perhaps write shtpi but would say shpi. The connection to education lies in the fact that an. Tree of Blood, Tree of Milk educated speaker would endeavour to speak standard Albanian. He would thus say shtpi, though he might then use shpi when talking to his grandmother. Edith Durham calls him the xot i shpis. Pouqueville, F. Hasluck, M. Kusovac, Z. In houses which I visited, this was the room to which I was usually taken on first visits.
Guests have to become very familiar friends to be easily accepted into any other rooms. Backer estimated that Kosovar Albanian unskilled migrant workers in Germany were able to save DM l, per month in the mids ; see Backer , Behind the Stone Walls, p. Vickers, M. Gjeov , Kanuni i Lek Dukagjinit, articles 88, 95, 98, p. Donert, C. Backer, , Behind the Stone Walls, p. Lvi-Strauss, C. Denich, , Sex and Power in the Balkans, p. Gilmore, D. A service performed to this day as several foreign writers have observed and personally undergone in their guest status this author included.
Women Who Become Men Fischer, B. Post, S.go here
Women Who Become Men
Carver, R. See Hasluck, M. Backer , Behind Stone Walls, p. Post , Women in Modern Albania, p. Lane , The Peaks of Shala, p. Backer explains that the term t pajtuar which can be translated as adapt is frequently used by women who grow to accept the new marital environment. The term can also mean to reach peace in the sense that a conflict is solved, followed by resignation.
Living and Working in Albania permission of A. Eek, Oslo , p. Carver , The Accursed Mountains, pp. Vince-Pallua, J. See also Tirta, M. Susan Pritchett Post explains the Albanian proverb when a girl was born the very beams of the house began crying: the parents would be sad because a daughters dowry would be expensive, an unproductive use of money, and the mother would frequently grieve for the difficult life that lay ahead for her daughter; Post , Women in Modern Albania, p. Quoted by Stahl in The Albanians, p.
See Stahl , The Albanians, p. Post , Women of Modern Albania, p. Tree of Blood, Tree of Milk Coleman, K. The authors expertise was sought to support such a claim in Canada in See Posts summary of this and on other womens lives in this period: Post , Women in Modern Albania, p. Campbell, J. Article of the Kanun.
The Kanun Many of northern Albanias people still live by the strict laws of the Kanun whose 1, Articles, set out in the twelve books cover all aspects of mountain life: the regulation of economic and family organization, hospitality, brotherhood, the clan, boundaries, work, marriage, land and livestock, etc. The first section of Book eight sets out the laws pertaining to Personal Honour where there is said to be no distinction between man and man, Soul for soul, all are equal before God. Comprehension of the strict adherence to the Kanun discussed in more detail in Appendix 1 is necessary to understanding how sworn virgins fit so crucially within the society which follows this body of law, developed over several centuries.
The Albanian people have traditionally lived an ordered life without resort to outside jurisdiction; this differs markedly from anything that exists elsewhere in Europe. One of the Kanuns most positive aspects is its concern for the common good. There are several quite similar versions of the Kanun laws of Albania, the best known and most generally followed to this day is the Kanun of Lek Dukagjini.
However reference in this Kanun to sworn virgins is very brief,5 whereas there is much more extensive discussion of virgjinesha sworn virgins in the Kanun of Skanderbeg. However, it continues, since the oath is binding for life; in these cases she must first get the permission of her parents and relatives who will be likely to ask her to postpone the change, giving time to give it full consideration in order to be certain that the family will not be shamed by her possible later change of heart.
The Power of the Besa The besa oath or binding promise is of prime importance, the cornerstone of all personal and social conduct. Two sections of the Kanun are devoted to the besa. Articles of the Kanun concern the various aspects of the oath which is considered the end of all controversy.
As the oath is a religious utterance, whoever uses it is considered legally bound by it. Article cites the punishment for one who has sworn falsely: the mark of dishonor remains on his family until the seventh generation. These laws are the basis of morality which deeply affects Albanians in all their behaviour. Usually a besa is considered to be a lifelong promise, as with the sworn virgins hence the use of the term sworn. Breaking the Vow The besa confirms the high value of honour in Albanian society. Combined with extreme social pressure to abide by vows taken, it is exceptional for a sworn virgin to break her vow and thus dishonour herself and her family line.
Once the decision is made by herself or her parents, usually accompanied by a vow of chastity and refusal ever to marry, social pressures ensure that the change is not reversed. The advantages of sworn virgin status are that It is a role often taken from birth or early childhood. A womans alternative as a sworn virgin allows her to carry on the name and inheritance to prevent the house, the hearth and the candle from being extinguished.
Backer comments that The general stress in the. Jan and Cora Gordon tried to determine the outcome of one who might wish to change her mind after taking the oath. They describe their meeting with a sworn virgin during their travels in Albania in the late s: Looking closer, we began to doubt the sex of this person. That girl. But if she breaks her vow, we said, does her family pursue her to kill her? She doesnt ever break her vow. And, anyway, no man would want her any more than he would want his sister. Yet we repeated our questions, If?
She would have to leave the clan then. But they would not kill her? Oh, no. She can marry if she likes, but she would not want to. You understand. The Hearth: the Heart of the Household The oda mens room traditionally reserved for mens discussions and entertaining visitors , where they are served their meals, is also the room to which visitors are taken. Robert Pichler comments on the importance of this room: it is striking that the most frequented public place was inside the house, namely the guest-room.
As we have seen, the household head is responsible for ensuring that the traditional laws of the Kanun are closely observed in every respect. Even after spending some time in northern Albania, Marjorie Senechal still felt that: Women Who Become Men As outsiders, many aspects of daily life, especially in the mountains, would have been puzzling to us if we had not been aware of the teachings of the kanun. It proclaims the magnificent tradition of mountain hospitality:. At any time of the day or night, one must be ready to receive a guest with bread and salt and an open heart, with fire, a log of wood, and a bed.
If a guest enters your house, even though he may be in blood with you, you must say to him, Welcome! It is the duty of the household head to monitor those situations concerning family honour, the most important of which is hospitality. Hence a missed opportunity or the inability to offer hospitality produces shame. Nowhere is honour so much at stake as in the question of hospitality, which is considered to show the most important reflection of the familys respectful place in society.
Hospitality features as a part of the very core of the Kanun; one of whose twelve Books is devoted to honour. Post sums up the legendary nature of Albanian hospitality, and how it: has been raised to such a high level of importance in the society that it forms an underpinning of the national consciousness. From the earliest historical observations about Albanian people, hospitality has been cited as one of their most common attributes. The nature and responsibilities of that hospitality have been recorded in stories from ancient times and codified in the Kanun.
The concept of honour, especially in connection with hospitality, enters into every transaction and is considered of greater value than life itself. This accounts for the emphasis that Dilore placed on giving hospitality to officials whose visits were intended to force her to give up her land see p. A visitor should be greeted by the household head, and should be offered food and drink and accommodation for an indefinite period. If any harm comes to the visitor whilst in the house or on the property, the host family take full responsibility for avenging such harm.
On a guests departure, he17 should be escorted by the household head or his family representative to the edge of his property. Harvey Sarner was impressed by the indelibility of the Albanian code of honour when interviewing members of a family who each confirmed the importance of a guests life before their own: There are no foreigners in Albania, there are only guests, he was told. Households are known by their family name. Such is the power of honour, that the name of households held in high respect may be used in a wide area, a long way outside their property, surrounding the household in order to command respect.
This serves as protection for visitors on leaving their hosts lands. Thus I was told to mention a certain name as I travelled in the area Pashke see p. Harvey Sarner gives an example of the deeply felt responsibility for guests in describing the generous hospitality offered to Jews fleeing persecution in neighbouring Serbia, Macedonia and even as far as Austria during the Second World War. He cites a case where a farmer by the name of Sulo Mecaj put his son into equal danger as his Jewish guests by hiding them all together.
This was the honorable thing to do in order to give the Jews reassurance. In later years Sulos son was asked how he felt about the situation of the added danger into which he had been put. Sarner describes his response: Women Who Become Men The question bewildered and confused him. His reaction was that it was the proper thing to do so his father had no choice, it was a matter of honor. When asked whether he would have done as his father had done, his answer was of course.
Sulos grandson, who was listening to the conversation, added his of course. They both looked at me as if I had asked a foolish question, I had. A second example concerns a situation in which I myself and two others became involved when we hired a driver who thus took on the responsibility of us for the day. During a break, and away from our driver, a dispute arose in which tensions escalated to the point of violence. This dispute details of which, it was requested for the honour of Albania should not to be divulged was fully resolved and reconciled by the man who had taken responsibility for us as his guests our driver.
He resolved the dispute which our presence had partially initiated, and ensured full reconciliation. For this to be achieved, it was necessary for all parties about twenty people had been involved to eat and drink together the meal of the blood the meal shared by those in reconciliation which then negates any need to take vengeance. So, in a remote wooded area, there appeared homemade cheese, bread, raki strong local brandy and bottles of beer. With a great show of sharing all with all, bottles passed back and forth and the culmination was a group photograph of all embracing one another.
Once on our way again our driver soon stopped the car. He got out and went to a tree, explaining that each time he comes to this spot he kisses the tree. He showed us the marks on the tree left by his son, who once, as a child, had been allowed to take a turn driving the truck and he had smashed into this tree. Now his fathers kisses show his intense gratitude for the fact that his son was not killed. I remarked that he would now remember the place for two events.
He replied that todays was much more serious: that the death of his son would not have equalled the loss of his honour had any harm come to guests entrusted to his care!
Women Who Become Men Albanian Sworn Virgins - Antonia Young | Albanians | Albania
The Guest Thirty-eight articles define clearly how to treat The Guest, the first of which states The house of the Albanian belongs to God and the guest. Even Gjeov finds this rather excessive: Note: These customs seem ludicrous, but their non-observance has caused killing among people sitting at the same table. For an instant he was still, and then, like someone who, confronted by the body of a dying man, tries to find the wound and guess what weapon has brought death near, he went to one of the corners of the house, bent down, moved a few stones, did the same thing with the other three corners, and having seen that the cornerstones had been pulled out of their beds, he knew that this was a house that had broken the laws of hospitality.
Besides burning them down, there was this further treatment reserved for those houses in which the most serious crime had been committed, according to the Kanun: the betrayal of the guest who was under the protection of the bessa. All the laws are based on the evolution of the Kanun to suit changing times and situations; they are discussed and adapted over generations by the male members this can of course include sworn virgins of the households, chaired by the household head. This person takes responsibility for the whole of the extended family under his roof and adjoining buildings if of the same family.
As we have seen, such families contained seventy or eighty members, some were even bigger, though now fifteen to twenty is more usual, and many are smaller. Adherence to these laws has constituted the main topic of discussion amongst the men on long evenings at the hearthsides of all households through the centuries. Amongst the households to which I was invited, I found myself one evening amidst just such a discussion.
Accompanying Taulant on a visit to his greatuncle Kol we drove some miles over the winding, rutted mountain road, out of Bajram Curri, and over several ravines before stopping to leave the car at the roadside. From there we walked a few miles, mostly on muddy paths, but sometimes following invisible tracks, skirting properties and ending up in a hamlet of a few rough houses no vehicle could reach such a spot. Taulant led my colleague and me through a cleanly brushed dirt courtyard amidst a flurry of chickens, up some steps outside a solid stone building to the first floor, and into a wooden-floored reception area.
Here Kol, a man well into his seventies, greeted us. We removed our shoes and with much attention from several women we entered the house and followed Kol into the oda mens room. This wooden-beamed, low-ceilinged room was freshly whitewashed. The rough wooden floor was almost entirely covered by a variety. There was no furniture in the room other than an array of cushions with brightly coloured embroidered covers.
Three small windows gave sufficient light on this summer evening without the use of the single light bulb hanging from the ceiling. On one wall hung a picture of Skanderbeg. Kol, dressed in a worn brown suit and white skull cap seated himself in his rightful place to the right of the hearthside. Other men, seated in descending age order sat on the carpeted floor, their backs to the walls. Various introductions were made, and a few questions were directed to Taulant about us. After a while Taulant asked what appeared to be burning questions of his great-uncle, to do with the practical implementation of the Kanun.
After each query there were some moments of silence before Kol answered him with slow, carefully chosen words, pausing every couple of sentences; everyone remained silent as he spoke. Barefooted women and children gently pushed in the open doorway trying to get a better look at the unusual spectacle of foreign visitors heeding the words of their patriarch. There were a few hushing sounds from this gathering mob at the door as they each tried to quieten the others. Taulant told his great-uncle that a family from across the valley were planning to claim the land on which a now partially destroyed derelict school stood.
He asked the old man whether that family had the right to take the land. The old man remembered when the crops of another family had once been planted on that land. Other men in the room also commented, and though no arguments ensued, at times the atmosphere felt slightly fraught indicating that there was not universal agreement, but Kol ultimately had the final word.
We also learned how records are kept of boundaries without resort to written documents: male children included in negotiations, physically walk the bounds and note the placement of boulders and trees which delineate property boundaries. This ensures that when their elders have died, family representatives will still know exactly how their family lands are defined. After a while the tension eased and women came in and served us all Turkish coffee; the men in the room talked quietly to one another, grapes were served. The serious discussion resumed on the application of the Kanun to different situations.
Gradually the children managed to sneak a sitting space just inside the doorway. One of them was covered in scabs. As my colleague was a doctor, when discussion on the Kanun closed, members of the family asked him what he thought of the condition of the child.
He had no difficulty in diagnosing it and was able some days later to send by relatives of relatives, a simple ointment cure. Although we were urged to stay the Families in blood To be in blood indicates that a family is involved in an ongoing bloodfeud. One such family whom I visited in have nine children. They live in a two-room stone house, the windows permanently closed and curtained. The oldest son, aged nineteen, had killed his neighbour a man in his fifties.
This was the culmination of a dispute over the rights of the shared irrigation stream which divides their lands one from the other. One day the neighbours argument with the young man resulted in his hitting the nineteen-year-old. Kel, the lad, then felt this act had sufficiently offended the honour of his family to demand his taking blood. The next day he went out with a knife and killed his neighbour. Kel left the area shortly after, his family claimed not to know where he was, though they clearly understood that he was still in grave danger of vengeful attack.
The next two eldest children were sent away to live with relatives outside the area. The remaining six, aged three to fifteen, still live with their parents inside their home. They have not been to school for several years. The strain on the mother of worry for her children is all too evident. In this case, unusually, the father is immune from the threat as he had grown up since childhood with the four brothers next door and was closest in age to the one whom his son had killed.
The families bent the Kanun rules sufficiently to ensure his immunity. He therefore unlike his sons is able to fetch food for the household. He is eager to negotiate reconciliation, but the neighbours insist that they are owed blood. The three boys know that they are at direct risk, the parents talk of it openly in front of them, explaining to us that the youngest aged six is still safe, but that it is most likely to be the eldest aged ten who will be the target. Although the girls are not directly at risk, they dare not venture out for fear of taunts from those around them, especially those of the feuding family.
This is a form of shame which families in feud are made to feel. Many things especially those covered by laws governing the activities of women are considered shameful. In chapter 6 we shall see how for example the failure to cover a womans hair with a headscarf can be considered shameful. It is the combination of honour and shame which ensures such strict compliance with the Kanun laws.