Bandits and Bureaucrats: The Ottoman Route to State Centralization
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 customarily mischaracterized as one in which the state declined in power. Outlining the processes of imperial rule, Barkey relates the state's political and military institutions to their social 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.
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Abaza administrative Ahmed Akdag alliances Anatolia Anatolian Rebellion appointed argues army Aydin banditry bandits bargaining became Bektashi campaign Canboladoglu celali central co-opted collective action consolidation countryside court records dervishes documents early seventeenth century economic elites established European Faroqhi forces formation governor-generals governors grand vizier groups Halil imperial important Inalcik incorporation increased institutions interaction internal Islamic Istanbul janissaries kadi Kalenderoglu Karayazici Koroglu Kuyucu Murad Pasha land landholder leaders Manisa Mehmed Mehmed II ment mercenaries military militia movements Murad IV Mustafa Naima nomads organization Osman Osman II Ottoman Empire patrimonial patron-client peasantry peasants percent period political population positions potential power holders Price Revolution provincial officials reaya rebels regional registers religious retinues rotation rule rural Saruhan sekban sixteenth century social structure society state's suhtes sultan Tarih-i tax farming tenure timar holders timar system tion town transformation troops units villages western zeamet