A quarterly specialized journal
The Message Of Folklore from Bahrain To The World

An anthropological study of authority in traditional societies: The Al-Sulh Group in Djelfa Province

Issue 38
An anthropological study of authority in traditional societies: The Al-Sulh Group in Djelfa Province

By Fatima Al-Zahraa Shwayah


One of the most distinctive features of the Djelfa region in central Algeria is what is known as the conciliation group or community, a type of traditional judiciary that has been passed down through the generations. The group, through its members or mediators, has long been responsible for the security and preservation of Djelfa's community and distinctive tribal identity.

Djelfa is a traditional society that values customs and follows customary rules and laws. The group exerts a type of social control over its members, whose behaviour is determined according to the prevailing social system. This social system includes customs, traditions, values and heritage that have been passed down through the generations.

This study is an attempt to discover the truth of this group, to learn about its structure and the nature of its system, and to understand why people need it and how it has survived despite social changes and urbanisation.

The study addresses the following questions:

  • Why is the group or community considered the most important feature of Djelfa's heritage?
  • To what extent can this type of traditional judiciary persevere given society’s development and the existence of the State’s official judiciary system?

The subject’s importance and scientific legitimacy are derived from the group’s ability to deal with sensitive social issues. This is what distinguishes our anthropological approach, which takes into consideration the most important characteristics of this community in light of society’s accelerated development and its transition from Bedouin to urbanisation and the interdependence of these elements. The aim of this study is to arrive at findings that contribute to the understanding and interpretation of the community’s mentality and nature.

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