Tocqueville in the Ottoman Empire

Rival Paths to the Modern State


This volume explores the transition from the old regime to modern forms of sovereignty in the Middle East. By rereading Tocqueville's classic, The Old Régime and the French Revolution, through an Ottoman prism this study probes the unresolved paradoxes in his analysis of institutional change while documenting an old regime that has remained in the shadows of modern history. Each section of the book explores a specific dimension of Ottoman sovereignty – space, hierarchy, and vernacular governance – through a detailed examination of a particular 18th century document. An Ottoman perspective on the eighteenth century not only furnishes critical pieces of the old-regime puzzle. It also illustrates how an uncritical reception of Tocqueville's model of modernization has obscured the ongoing interaction between the “Eurasian” and Westphalian state systems and parallel processes of sociopolitical change.

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Ariel Salzmann, Ph.D. (1995) in History, Columbia University is Assistant Professor of World and Islamic History at Queen's University (Canada). She has published on topics concerning Ottoman political economy and governance, including "Citizens in Search of a State: The Limits of Political Participation in the Late Ottoman Empire, 1808-1913" (Extending Citizenship, Reconfiguring States, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 1999).
'Par sa nouveauté, son audance et les perspectives qu’il ouvre, le livre de Salzmann s’impose d’emblée comme une référence.'
Hamit Bozarslan, Revue d’Études Turques, 2004.

'Salzmann has produced a work that is going to be both a landmark in Ottoman studies and a bridge to other fields and disciplines'. Selim Deringil, Mediterranean Historical Review 2005.
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