Bandits and Bureaucrats: The Ottoman Route to State Centralization - The Wilder House Series in Politics, History and Culture (Paperback)Karen Barkey (author)
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Why did the main challenge to the Ottoman state come not in peasant or elite rebellions, but in endemic banditry? Karen Barkey shows how Turkish strategies of incorporating peasants and rotating elites kept both groups dependent on the state, unable and unwilling to rebel. Bandits, formerly mercenary soldiers, were not interested in rebellion but concentrated on trying to gain state resources, more as rogue clients than as primitive rebels. The state's ability to control and manipulate bandits-through deals, bargains and patronage-suggests imperial strength rather than weakness, she maintains.
Bandits and Bureaucrats details, in a rich, archivally based analysis, state-society relations in the Ottoman empire during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Exploring current eurocentric theories of state building, the author illuminates a period often mischaracterized as one in which the state declined in power.
Outlining the processes of imperial rule, Barkey relates the state political and military institutions to their socal foundations. She compares the Ottoman route with state centralization in the Chinese and Russian empires, and contrasts experiences of rebellion in France during the same period. Bandits and Bureaucrats thus develops a theoretical interpretation of imperial state centralization through incorporation and bargaining with social groups, and at the same time enriches our understanding of the dynamics of Ottoman history.
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 567 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
"An important contribution to Ottoman studies.... Barkey is persuasive in showing how the structure of the Ottoman state and the mechanisms it employed deterred rebellions from various sources and bargained away potentially fatal internal conflicts."* International Journal of Middle East Studies *
"This is a rich book that skillfully blends primary archival material with an intelligent reading of the secondary sources."* American Journal of Sociology *
"Karen Barkey, steeped in the intricacies of Ottoman linguistics as well as... new techniques of social theorization, brings her special talents to a perennial debate among early modernists who study the Middle East-how to explain the decline of the Ottoman Empire in the decades after Sulayman the Great.... She turns the question inside out stating the Ottoman Empire did not decline at all. Instead, she argues, it found new strategies of central control to meet destabilizing military, economic, and social changes.... Original, challenging, and written in crystalline prose, Barkey's book stimulates debate and encourages further research and studies."* Sixteenth Century Journal *
"This book is interesting because it offers a glimpse as to how the ruling class, Janissary Corps, peasants, ulama (religious body) and judges related to one another.... Middle-East FAOs will nonetheless find this an interesting read, and devoting time to the study of the Ottoman system is always important in gaining a truer insight into the religion."-- L.T. Youssef and H. Aboul-Einein * FAO Journal *
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