by Hassan DUMANOV, Dr. Sc. (Hist.), Director, Institute for Humanitarian Studies under the Government of Kabardino-Balkaria and the RAS, Kabardino-Balkarian Science Center,
Yaroslava SMIRNOVA, Dr. Sc. (Hist.), senior researcher, Miklukho-Maklai Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, RAS
In recent time studies of the legal aspects of authority and associated norms have been making rapid headway in this and other countries. In 1997, Moscow hosted the 11th International Congress of the Commission on Folk Law and Legal Pluralism, and a customary law section was set up at the annual nationwide Conference of Ethnologists and Anthropologists in 1999. Until now, however, ethnologists and law scientists cannot be said to have worked in close contact, although both branches of science share a common patch, ethnology of law. This situation can be turned around by taking up power organization and normative regulation in pre-political societies (the province of ethnology) and political societies (basically, the domain of jurisprudence).
American scientist Norbert Wiener (1894-1964), the father of cybernetics, held that much depends on definitions. Assuming that this is really so, we feel that before we proceed with our subject we are to specify the concepts of power and normative regulation.
In the generally acclaimed definition of Max Weber (1864-1920), a German sociologist and historian, "power is any opportunity to impose, under particular social relations, one's own will despite resistance, regardless of what such opportunity rests on." In our view, only one point is arguable in this definition: why specifically under particular social relations? We must remember, however, that Weber lived at a time when the latest ethological facts were unavailable. These facts show that power relations, or, in a broader context, domination systems exist in zoological communities, as well as in human societies. We are not going to address this philosophical subject here, although we h ... Read more