By Michæl Meeker
This leading edge examine of contemporary Turkey is the results of decades of ethnographic fieldwork and archival learn. Michael Meeker expertly combines anthropological and historic tips on how to study the transition from the Ottoman Empire to the Turkish Republic in an important quarter of the rustic, the japanese Black beach. His most important discovering is state-oriented provincial oligarchy performed a key function in successive courses of reform over the process greater than 2 hundred years of imperial and nationwide historical past. As Meeker demonstrates, best participants subsidized via interpersonal networks decided the end result of the modernizing strategy, first in the course of the westernizing interval of the Empire, then in the course of the progressive interval of the Republic.To know the way this sort of state-oriented provincial oligarchy was once produced and reproduced alongside the japanese Black coastline, Meeker integrates a latest ethnographic learn of public existence in cities and villages with a old learn of legit files, consular stories, and trip narratives. A state of Empire offers anthropologists, historians, and scholars of japanese Europe and the center East with a brand new figuring out of the complexities and contradictions of contemporary Turkish event.
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Extra resources for A Nation of Empire: The Ottoman Legacy of Turkish Modernity
In this way, a new kind of public life would be propagated, one based on republican rather than ottomanist principles. All these governmental and nongovernmental organizations had always been subject to ofﬁcial regulation, even closure and banning. Nonetheless, resident state ofﬁcials did not have direct control over a certain number of genuinely public organizations whose numbers and functions had gradually multiplied over the ﬁrst four decades of the Turkish Republic. 7 Just to the west of the central square, toward the older section of town, the municipal government was located in a new concrete building, along with the water, electric, and telephone utilities.
Aghas create clans, clans do not create aghas But again, this second path of investigation, like the ﬁrst, became less and less credible as I learned more. Public life, social memory, local history, and architectural leftovers all pointed toward the same conclusion. But the conclusion was dependent on a logic of analysis that was inconsistent with what is known about the social history of the eastern Black Sea coast. A mass of other details, all conveniently suppressed in the preceding arguments, could not be reconciled with the idea that the aghas, mansions, clans, and parties were a local social system divided from the state system.
According to my interlocutors, there had once been at least a score of these mansions in the district of Of alone. During my travels along the eastern Black Sea coast, I was told of the remains of foundation stones or ruined walls of such structures that had once existed on this promontory or that hilltop. All these mansions of the old social order were said to have been razed in the 1830s by the aforementioned Osman Pasha. He was credited with having restored centralized government in the coastal region, but only by resorting to drastic measures.
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