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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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Writing Politics: Ottoman Governmentality and the Language of Reports

Writing Politics: Ottoman Governmentality and the Language of Reports

(p.116) 5 Writing Politics: Ottoman Governmentality and the Language of Reports
Nineteenth-Century Local Governance in Ottoman Bulgaria

M. Safa Saraçoglu

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter focuses on the official correspondence between Vidin’s administrative council and the provincial capital, Ruse. These reports pertaining to events in Vidin County were a part of the political procedures of the local judicio-administrative sphere. As such, politics of local administration influenced the official correspondence and our understanding of the events in Vidin County. The writing of reports and petitions and other provincial administrative/judicial practices (such as interrogations) constituted a significant part of Ottoman governmentality. Those who could shape how the official correspondence was constructed gained advantage in local political economy. Such correspondence was an essential component of how provincial Ottoman government functioned; therefore, reports, petitions, false accusations, and interrogations became important tools for agents and groups who were engaged in hegemonic negotiations. Both elite and non-elite agents were able to utilize Ottoman governance to pursue their own strategies against other local agents or imperial government. People who refused to use these bureaucratic tools in making claims and negotiating were presented in this correspondence as defiant stubborn and violent. This perspective is critical of the state–society divide, as the case studies reveal a more complex singular government of state and society.

Keywords:   False accusations, Government (as a hegemonic environment), Interrogations and reports, Official correspondence, Ottoman governmentality, Petitions, Power, Property disputes

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