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Age of RoguesRebels, Revolutionaries and Racketeers at the Frontiers of Empires$
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Ramazan Öztan and Alp Yenen

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781474462624

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474462624.001.0001

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Age of Rogues: Transgressive Politics at the Frontiers of the Ottoman Empire

Age of Rogues: Transgressive Politics at the Frontiers of the Ottoman Empire

(p.3) 1 Age of Rogues: Transgressive Politics at the Frontiers of the Ottoman Empire
Age of Rogues

Alp Yenen

Ramazan Hakkı Öztan

Edinburgh University Press

This conceptual chapter frames the turn of the twentieth century at the frontiers of the Ottoman Empire as an ‘age of rogues’, when the shaky foundations upon which the modern Balkans, Middle East and Caucasus were forged. By building on the example of the imperial and revolutionary setting of Ottoman Macedonia and the life history of ‘Young Turk’ leader Enver Paşa, we define the age of rogues as a particular geopolitical and historical context within which imperial rivalries gave birth to a cast of parapolitical and paramilitary agents in frontier regions whose violent autonomy and culture of transgression managed to transform the legitimate norms of politics and the formal institutions of state sovereignty. The term rogue not only signifies capability of transgression, but also denies any pre-configured historical consequence. Rogues can be both heroes and villains, bandits and bureaucrats, rebels and rulers, revolutionaries and counter-revolutionaries. Their brand of what we call transgressive politics, which we locate at the analytical intersection of contentious politics and parapolitics, particularly flourished on the frontiers of empires and modernity, where violence became the effective form of interaction not only between coercive regimes and their subversive opponents but also among rivaling empires and competing rogue groups.

Keywords:   Transgressive politics, contentious politics, parapolitics, empires, frontiers, Macedonia, Enver Paşa, Ottoman Empire

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