Governing Property, Making the Modern State: Law, Administration and Production in Ottoman Syria

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I.B.Tauris, 2007 - History - 306 pages
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Was "modernity" in the Middle East merely imported piecemeal from the West? Did Ottoman society really consist of islands of sophistication in a sea of tribal conservatism, as has so often been claimed? In this groundbreaking new book, Martha Mundy and Richard Saumarez Smith draw on over a decade of primary source research to argue that, contrary to popular belief, a distinctively Ottoman process of modernization was achieved by the end of the nineteenth century with great social consequences for all who lived through it. Modernization touched women as intimately as men: the authors' careful work explores the impact of Ottoman legal reforms such as granting women equal rights to land. Mundy and Saumarez Smith have painstakingly recreated a picture of such processes through both new archival material and the testimony of surviving witnesses to the period. This book will not only affect the way we look at Ottoman society, it will change our understanding of the relationship between East, West and modernity.
  

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Contents

Jurisprudential debate in the sixteenth century t i
11
Jurisprudential debate in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries
21
Legal reform from the 1830s to the First World War
40
Production and settlement in the district of Ajlun
57
The introduction of bureaucratic registration
66
Regional leadership and the prosecution of a governor
80
Figures
81
Property and administration in the later Tanzimat
96
Registration and political economy in two plains villages
108
Registration and political economy in two hill villages
152
Hawwara
186
Kufr Awan
208
Epilogue
233
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About the author (2007)

Martha Mundy is a Reader in Anthropology at the London School of Economics. She is the author of Domestic Government: Kinship, Community and Polity in North Yemen (IB Tauris, 1995).
Richard Saumarez Smith is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the American University of Beirut.

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