By E. Stiles
Stiles makes use of in-depth ethnographic research of judicial reasoning and litigant task in Islamic family members courtroom in Zanzibar, Tanzania to attract new and demanding conclusions on how humans comprehend and use Islamic criminal rules in marital disputes.
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Extra info for An Islamic Court in Context: An Ethnographic Study of Judicial Reasoning
In the official court register, victors in cases were not marked: the columns simply indicated plaintiff, defendant, complaint, and maelezo (explanation), where clerks would record brief ly what happened. For the sake of preparing the table, however, I determined that a woman or man was successful if the ruling rectified at least part of her or his initial claim. Thus, despite the obvious convenience of presenting this information in a table, I am not fully comfortable with representing case outcomes in this way, and I would ask readers to consider cases individually since the outcomes were more complex than what is indicated in the table.
This section of the building had its own covered entrance, and people often waited there for their turn to speak with the clerks or the kadhi. Most mornings, two or three people were already waiting outside when I arrived, and we would greet each other pleasantly while I parked my bicycle. One morning in July, right after I started working at the court, I noticed a thin, tired looking woman waiting on the steps with several small children. Her name was Bi Amina. Like nearly all of the women who came to the court, she wore a brightly colored kanga over her dress.
Of the 76 cases opened in the period under investigation, 70 concerned marital disputes of some kind. These numbers are fairly typical of the past 10 years in Mkokotoni: on average, about 40 cases are opened per year, and about 90 percent are marital disputes. 2 shows the number of cases opened per year by female and male plaintiffs between 1990 and 2004. The majority of cases in Zanzibar are opened by women; of all of the 76 cases opened in 1999–2000 period, women were plaintiffs in 61 and men were plaintiffs in 14; in the remaining case, described in chapter two, a woman brought a matter to court, but the case was opened as if her former husband was the plaintiff.
An Islamic Court in Context: An Ethnographic Study of Judicial Reasoning by E. Stiles