Bandits and Bureaucrats

by Karen Barkey.
 
Citation
Title:
Bandits and Bureaucrats
Author:
Karen Barkey.
Editor:
City:
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
Year:
1997
Volume:
No. of Volumes:
Edition:
Pages:
282
Series Volume:
Series Editor:
Series Title:
Translator:
Language:
English
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DOI:
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License
Select License
ISBN:
0801484197
9780801484193
Last Updated:
August 29th, 2011
Abstract

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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