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Download The Second Ottoman Empire: Political and Social Transformation in the Early Modern World (Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization) epub

by Baki Tezcan

Although scholars have begun to revise the traditional view that the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries marked a decline in the fortunes of the Ottoman Empire, Baki Tezcan's book proposes a radical new approach to this period. While he concurs that decline did take place in certain areas, he constructs a new framework by foregrounding the proto-democratization of the Ottoman polity in this era. Focusing on the background and the aftermath of the regicide of Osman II, he shows how the empire embarked on a period of seismic change in the political, economic, military, and social spheres. It is this period - from roughly 1580 to 1826 - that the author labels "The Second Empire," and that he sees as no less than the transformation of the patrimonial, medieval, dynastic institution into a fledgling limited monarchy. The book is essentially a post-revisionist history of the early modern Ottoman Empire that will make a major contribution not only to Ottoman scholarship but also to comparable trends in world history.
Download The Second Ottoman Empire: Political and Social Transformation in the Early Modern World (Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization) epub
ISBN: 0521519497
ISBN13: 978-0521519496
Category: Other
Subcategory: Humanities
Author: Baki Tezcan
Language: English
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (September 13, 2010)
Pages: 306 pages
ePUB size: 1161 kb
FB2 size: 1106 kb
Rating: 4.3
Votes: 145
Other Formats: lrf lit txt mobi

Eh... it was ok...nothing special.
Excellent book, with plenty details. I'm french and had no difficulty to read it, as it is well explained, and regularly summarized by the author. Baki Tezcan did a really good job here. The locus on the social,economical and political dynamic enligthens our perception of the Ottoman Empire and offers some
As a student of comparative imperial decline, a notable book landed on my desk recently, a remarkable study of "The Second Ottoman Empire" by a young scholar, Baki Tezcan. It is a major revisionist analysis of the long established linear narrative of progressive Ottoman decline pre-dating by several centuries the ultimate post-WWI collapse of the empire. Instead, Professor Tezcan makes a convincing case, both conceptually and empirically,that, conversely, from 1580-1826 the empire enjoyed a renaissance of sorts he aptly calls the "Second Empire." To wit, he argues persuasively that several of the examples given in support of the linear decline theory were actually relatively constructive developments in the mid-life of the six-century Ottoman Empire.

Tracing the transition from the Ottoman patrimonial period to the Second Empire as an early modern polity at the end of the 16th and beginning of the 17th centuries, the author lays out two master trends, i.e. the development of proto-democratization, and the emergence of limits on central authority. Proto-democratization was manifested in the gradual expansion of the political nation, those able to participate in the politics of the empire, while the initial checks on power meant limiting royal absolutism on the key issue of political succession. The agents of change in these two processes were, respectively, the steadily increasing access of commoners into the elite Janissary Corps, the infantry forces of empire which enjoyed status in the Sultan's court, and the rising stature of the jurists, the authoritative interpreters of Islamic law.

However, these modernizing trends did not go unchallenged throughout the 17th and 18th centuries of the Second Empire. On the contrary, they occurred within an ongoing ideational struggle between the Absolutist school of imperial power and its challenger, the Constitutionalists with their arguments for broader political participation and some curbs on monarchial authority. The latter developments were taking place in the supporting context of increasing monetization (versus in-kind transactions) of the Ottoman economy in the direction of marketization, and the progressive unification of legal space throughout the territories of the vast empire.

As the author superbly demonstrates, the Constitutionalists held the balance during the two centuries of the Second Empire as the Janissaries became a channel for upward social mobility, and the jurists' influence at court grew, signaling the regularization of imperial succession and the resolution of political conflict, not as heretofore by force of arms and political assassination, but within the arena of law. But Professor Tezcan is also not remiss in pointing out the costs as well as the benefits of the positive trends within the Second Empire.

As the Janissaries opened their ranks to broader membership, the corps evolved from a mainly military arm of empire into a socio-economic institution comprising the myriad private commercial interests of its members. Likewise, as the authority of the jurists grew, so too did the influence of religious orthodoxy in their legal interpretations. Hence, the costs to empire -- military weakness and territorial loss, as well as religious conservatism stunting the growth of scientific knowledge. Both of these adverse trends, the author's notes, contributed to the ultimate decline of the Ottoman Empire, weakening its ability to compete effectively with the more modern empires of the 18th and 19th centuries.

A final word on the splendid organization of this excellent study. The book opens with a narrative overview of the author's thesis, evidence, and arguments, followed by a chapter introducing his empirically well-grounded conceptual vocabulary and framework within which the analytic narrative will proceed. Then come four chapters analysing in a fascinating account the unfolding of the revisionist Second Empire thesis within court life at mid-empire, ending with a masterful concluding chapter, the entire work skillfully threaded together by a common body of ideas which the author articulates in highly readable prose and reiterates in each succeeding phase of the story. Last, Professor Tezcan's book should score well in the classroom -- as a work of high scholarship, it is eminently accessible pedagogically, both to instructor and student.