State and Society in the Ottoman Empire: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

State and Society in the Ottoman Empire

1st Edition

By Haim Gerber


320 pages

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Hardback: 9780754669852
pub: 2010-03-28

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This book has three main themes: the socio-economic history of Turkish society in the 17th-18th centuries; the outcome of the Tanzimat (Reforms) in the province of Jerusalem, as an example of the whole phenomenon; and the historical origins of Turkish and Arab identities leading to the modern phenomenon of nationalism. Many of the studies are based on archival research, and the documents give a new picture of the issues involved. Thus, women were much more involved in the public arena and in economic life of the city that formerly thought; the urban family at this time was much smaller and nuclear-like, on the whole much more modern looking than anticipated. In the same way, Turkish society was far from being despotically oppressed by the Ottoman centre, with several institutions existing in it that gave substance to the term civil society. In the context of the 19th century it was found that, judging by the case of the province of Jerusalem, the final phase of the Tanzimat really tipped the balance in favour of the success of this whole movement of Reform: Ottoman society and Ottoman state became much more orderly and at ease with themselves than before, or at least than the stormy decades of the early 19th century. The final studies show that the Ottoman period and the structure of the Ottoman state, more properly, exerted much influence on the forms of nationalism that developed in the Middle East after the Ottoman downfall.


'I recommend Gerber's State and Society in the Ottoman Empire not only to Ottoman scholars, but to early modernists working on state formation and the relation of ecclesiastical law to the unification of national legal systems, as well as to women historians, and, of course, to contemporary scholars.' Sixteenth Century Journal

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Part 1 The Classical and Early Modern Period: Law, Economy and Society: The Waqf institution in early Ottoman Edirne; The Muslim law of partnerships in Ottoman court records; The monetary system of the Ottoman empire; Social and economic position of women in an Ottoman city, Bursa, 1600-1700; Anthropology and family history: the Ottoman and Turkish families; Muslims and Zimmis in Ottoman economy and society: encounters, culture and knowledge; The public sphere and civil society in the Ottoman empire; Rigidity versus openness in late classical Islamic law: the case of the 17th-century Palestinian mufti Khayr al-Din al-Ramli. Part 2 The 19th Century: Reforms and Socio-Economic Life: The Ottoman administration of the sanjaq of Jerusalem 1890-1908; A new look at the Tanzimat: the case of the province of Jerusalem; The population of Syria and Palestine in the 19th century; Modernization in 19th-century Palestine: the role of foreign trade. Part 3 Ethnosymbolism in the Middle East: Identity and Early Nationalism: 'Palestine' and other territorial concepts in the 17th century; The limits of constructedness: memory and nationalism in the Arab Middle East; The Muslim umma and the formation of Middle Eastern nationalisms; Index.

About the Author

Haim Gerber is an Emeritus Professor in the Institute of Asian and African Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General