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Vengeance is Mine: Justice Albanian Style, by Fatos Tarifa


Owing to the unusual qualities attributed to revenge…social scientists have simply sidestepped the topic, leaving it in the hands of dramatists, fiction writers, psychoanalytic thinkers, theologians and moral philosophers. Prof. Fatos Tarifa brilliantly steps in to fill the open space and by doing so he makes important contributions that will sensitize other social scientists to the role that revenge plays in societies….Fatos Tarifa has stunningly clarified a paradoxical pattern in a relatively pure form that now requires further comparative study….In Vengeance is Mine Prof. Tarifa demonstrates that codified customary law (accepted as based on self-evident natural principles) was not only embraced by people living in very remote communities, these people themselves wrote that customary law….Tarifa has written an eloquent tribute to the peoples of northern Albania [and he] has extended to western readers a gracious invitation to learn more about [his country]. He is an exceptionally talented storyteller, and he has given us, the readers, a gracious narrative and the gift of a new discovery.

Prof. Judith Blau
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Tarifa’s scholarship is a nuanced analysis, aware of history and change. While indebted to the work of Edith Durham, he takes our knowledge considerably beyond her anthropological travelogue, which is uninformed by a concern with temporal transformations….History, sociology, anthropology are all considered to provide a very good explication of fascinating cultural practices.
Prof. Karen Sinclair
Eastern Michigan University

It is really the first time that I have the impression something reasonable has been written on this subject.
Dr. Andrea Pieroni
University of Bradford

Tarifa’s thoughtful analysis makes the case for a more integrated understanding of law and social science as not just compatible, but mutually constitutive disciplines.
Dr. Marisa Ensor
Eastern Michigan University

The value of Tarifa’s Vengeance is Mine does not lie solely in giving us a better understanding of the Kanun and the code of vengeance in northern Albania. It also surfaces in how his discussion of the Kanun finds its way into a bigger picture. Although Vengeance is Mine will no doubt generate a discussion among sociologists, it has already helped this philosopher to empirically inform the ongoing debate among his colleagues over competing models of morality.
Prof. Rory Conces
University of Nebraska at Omaha

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