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A Study on Institutional Change: Ottoman Social Structure and the Provision of Public Goods

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Author(s): Seda Ünsar

Journal: Journal of Gazi Academic View
ISSN 1307-9778

Volume: 6;
Issue: 11;
Start page: 177;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Ottoman Institutions | (Democratic) Development | (Ottoman) State | waqf | lonca | property rights

ABSTRACT
The article seeks to contribute to issues of institutions that constitute the historical plane on which ‘democratic development’ rests. With that idea in mind, it sheds light onto the institutional course of the Ottoman Empire through the examination of two phenomena: the social structure of the imperial subjects and the provision of public goods. The reason that these two phenomena are essential in assessing the historical trajectory of the empire lies in their particular developmental paths that intertwine and support each other. The Ottoman Empire, which, to an extent, can be seen as the successor state to the Byzantines - as the Byzantine Empire was to Rome-, formed the highest stage of Islamic political institutionalization, having built upon the heritage of mainly the Turks as well as the earlier Muslim polities such as the Umayyad, Abbasid, Seljukian and Mamluk dynasties -plus that of the Mongol. Keeping in mind the Western state model, in the complexity of the political and economic Ottoman organization, those differences that appear as differences of degree compared to the West, still constitute an Ottoman peculiarity.
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