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Nineteenth-Century Local Governance in Ottoman BulgariaPolitics in Provincial Councils$
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M. Safa Saraçoglu

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474430999

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474430999.001.0001

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Once Inside the Chamber … Participation in the Politics of Local Administration

Once Inside the Chamber … Participation in the Politics of Local Administration

(p.81) 4 Once Inside the Chamber … Participation in the Politics of Local Administration
Nineteenth-Century Local Governance in Ottoman Bulgaria

M. Safa Saraçoglu

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter explores the members’ involvement with the provincial councils to identify the patterns in member participation. These councils handled majority of the local administrative and judiciary issues, yet they did not keep meeting minutes. Their copy registers, where they kept a copy of their correspondence, serve as the single most important source on the members’ participation in the politics of Ottoman administration. When read against the provincial yearbooks that provided a detailed account of the composition of Vidin’s judicio-administrative sphere, the changes and irregularities in the local record keeping procedures and the structure of the written entries reveal details of council members’ attendance and participation. The main argument of the chapter is that council members did not participate in the meetings regularly and equally. Rather, political groupings among the members, reflective of the provincial dynamics among notable families, affected the members’ level of participation, occasionally resulting in irregularities. Furthermore, higher-ranking officials at the provincial administration seem to be aware of these dynamics and irregularities at the county level.

Keywords:   Council members, Judicio-administrative sphere, Local notables, Provincial elections, Public sphere of state administration, Seals (for personal identification), Yearbooks (Salnames)

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