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Vendetta and Restorative Justice: The case of Sasmos in Highland Crete

Koumentaki, Evangelia (2022) Vendetta and Restorative Justice: The case of Sasmos in Highland Crete. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

In the sphere of customary law, an insult to a man and woman's honour must be restored with a corresponding punishment equal to the initial act. However, to prevent the initiation of violent retaliations and protecting their communities from social disorganisation, small-scale communities also established reconciliation processes as an antidote to the deleterious consequences of revenge for securing social order. This also happened on the Island of Crete (Greece), where since the first formation of mountain villages a reconciliation practice known as Sasmos has been used to avoid revenge. Little is known about Sasmos, which so far has attracted scarce academic attention. This study addresses Sasmos and aims to identify and discuss: the factors that have contributed to the existence of Sasmos in contemporary Crete, how locals have prevented the occurrence of vendettas and secured social order through Sasmos. It also examines how Sasmos impacts the lives of the victims, wrongdoers, their families, and the community. A participatory ethnographic approach was adopted to reach the study's aims, according to the needs of the cultural environment and the participants under study, along with their ethical principles. The data was obtained by a combination of in-depth interviews, focus groups and participant observation. The findings show that locals prefer a customary approach to justice. This is due to the antagonism between the Cretan culture and social environment and the Western-derived approaches to justice and order that the Greek state establishes. Above all, by following an original approach, it was found that Sasmos is a sui generis restorative approach to justice which centres around harm repairation, reintegration of the wrongdoer, and reconciliation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sasmos, Crete, Restorative Justice, customary law, customary justice, revenge, tradition of justice, cretan culture, zemia
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GT Manners and customs
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Evangelia Koumentaki
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2022 14:30
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2022 14:30
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/33022

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