3 maps, 17 b/w photos, 1 graph, 4 tables, author and subject index
Text language: German
Whereas nowadays the police, public prosecution and public court system are common to almost every legal system world wide, the workings of lower legal institutions and the dispension of law in villages and small provincial towns is scarcely known. To remedy the situation, Trutz von Trotha and Peter Hanser have studied the conditions, workings and effects of the legal system of Papua New Guinea.
The authors were interested in the interaction between the formal institutions of the national legal system and the conditions in the localities, especially the flexibility of legal order in the hands of the local representatives of the legal institutions at the periphery. The focus is on the experiences and points of view of simple village police members, itinerant prosecutors and judges, who sweat in musty bureaus to prepare for sessions dealing, e.g., with the issue of a bride price which was never paid and where it is clear that the promised bride price could never have been paid.
In Ihu, the field study area of the present study, conflict and competition determine the relationships between public administration, traditional and neo-traditonal institutions of mediation, and among the neo-traditional institutions themselves. At the time of the field study the conflicts between administration, village judges and village councils were exemplary. The strength and intensity of these conflicts are the result of the dynamics of a big men order. The differential structure of these conflicts points at a continuing heterogeneous order of relationship between politics and law. It corresponds to the local structures and processes about power, status and influence, where the big men are the dominant actors.