Ottoman Structure, Social Groups, and Westernization

Fatma Müge Göçek

in Rise of the Bourgeoisie, Demise of Empire

Published in print May 1996 | ISBN: 9780195099256
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854547 | DOI:
Ottoman Structure, Social Groups, and Westernization

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The sultan's household is the basic organizational unit of the Ottoman society. This household—comprising kin, retainers, and servants—goes beyond formal institutional and class boundaries, and symbolically resides under one roof. Empire officials imitated the sultan's household and formed their own households, through which, in alliance with the sultan's subjects, they kept the sultan's revenues away from him. The sultan's household and the official's household competed with each other as both tried to mobilize subjects to rally to their side. While this pattern continued, the chapter argues that the Ottoman Westernization was evident in the consumption of Western goods and the adoption of Western forms in arts and architecture. The goods and forms spread into Ottoman society through the mediation of Ottoman social groups and became a part of the social tradition as Ottoman art, architecture and material culture reproduced them within the empire.

Keywords: household; society; Westernization; goods; arts; architecture; culture

Chapter.  13305 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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