Women's Views on the Legal Order of "Thieves-in-law" in Postsoviet Georgia

Competing with State Laws, between Partisan Morality and Legal Formalism

  • Maroussia Ferry Ecole normale supérieure (ENS/CMH)
Keywords: Criminality, legal concepts, gender, customary justice, morality, Postsoviet space


As the power and influence of the “thieves-in-law” in Georgia weakened in an offensive against them that began in 2006, their parallel legal system lost some of its legitimacy in the face of the state legal system. This article, based on an ethnographic fieldwork conducted with women linked to the “world of thieves”, explores their discourses and rhetorical strategies concerning the “law” of “thieves”. It shows that beyond the partisan feelings of belonging that are expressed through claims of personal moral and qualities, their frames of reference reveal proper legal conceptions that interact and compete with the laws of the state.

Author Biography

Maroussia Ferry, Ecole normale supérieure (ENS/CMH)

Maroussia Ferry is an anthropologist. Her doctoral research focused on female migration from Georgia, through which she explored the recomposition of gender relations and moral economies in a post-crisis world. Her post-doctoral research focuses on the ethnographic study of kinship networks and the moral economy of transgression both in Georgia and in Marseille, France.


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How to Cite
Ferry, Maroussia. 2024. “Women’s Views on the Legal Order of ‘Thieves-in-Law’ in Postsoviet Georgia: Competing With State Laws, Between Partisan Morality and Legal Formalism”. Swiss Journal of Sociocultural Anthropology 29 (1):38-54. https://doi.org/10.36950/sjsca.2023.29.8952.