Jmaà (pl. Jmaâs)

A system of collective stewardship (general assembly of co-owners) that is the basis of social organisation. It is composed of representatives of each lineage chosen according to several criteria (nobility, wisdom, courage and fortune). Traditionally, the jmaà by the application of custom rules managed all matters of common interest, including processing and resolving the conflicts between villagers in the qçour. Today, jmaâs have lost most of their prerogatives and their traditional organisational role in the villages to the administrative authorities and the municipal council. Even so, the jmaâs still supervise water irrigation, collective soil and religious affairs.