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NCJ Number: 195814 Find in a Library
Title: Social Control in the Oasis of Siwa: A Study in Natural Justice and Conflict Resolution
Journal: International Criminal Justice Review  Volume:11  Dated:2001  Pages:82-103
Author(s): Sam S. Souryal
Date Published: 2001
Page Count: 22
Type: Case Study
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Egypt
Annotation: This article presents ethnographic research about “natural justice” as it is practiced by a remote Egyptian tribe.
Abstract: The author spent 6 weeks interviewing 38 tribal elders, members of a group called the awaqqel (meaning “most rational”), public officials, tribal members, and storytellers both in Cairo, Egypt, and in the remote oasis of Siwa. Under investigation was the practice of “natural justice” in this tribe through an examination of their methods of social control and other issues pertaining to crime and punishment. Interviews included questions regarding their government, culture and society, crime, and punishment. The author found that social control in this tribe is based on six communal principles: (1) family and community are the cornerstones of society, (2) social controls must be internalized to keep children from committing delinquent acts, (3) juvenile delinquency can be minimized by maintaining a healthy environment, (4) shame is an essential crime control method, (5) temperance of the mind is the best promoter of peaceful conflict resolution, and (6) the entire community must be involved in the justice system. The author categorizes this system of justice as participatory, negotiatory, and restorative. This type of crime control seems to work well; in the past decade only eight crimes were on record as occurring in this tribe: one manslaughter, three arsons, two cattle thefts, and two burglaries. The author notes that modern society could learn a great deal about informal social control through studies such as this one. Additionally, restoring tradition as a legitimate social control mechanism may be an important component in reducing crime in modern societies. References
Main Term(s): Criminal justice ideologies
Index Term(s): Arab Republic of Egypt; Local criminal justice systems; Personal interviews
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