Chapter

Great Curse of Babel

Nicholas Doumanis

in Before the Nation

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199547043
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191746215 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199547043.003.0002
Great Curse of Babel

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The chapter begins with the peculiarly western problem with multiethnicity. Western observers tend to interpret cultural complexity as disorderly and bewildering, and that has affected the way they have read such societies as the Ottoman Empire. Multiethnic societies were normative for a range of compelling historical reasons, and most powerful and durable states created mechanisms for managing difference. A case in point is the Ottoman Empire. The chapter details the history of intercommunal relations since the empire's beginnings. It then focuses on the Greek Orthodox Community and its inner cultural diversity, and explains why ethnic categories like ‘Greeks’ and ‘Turks’ are problematic categories of analysis, particularly if ethnicity is considered to the exclusion of other identities (e.g. class, locality, kin).

Keywords: multiethnicity; Ottoman Empire; Ottoman Greeks; identity; ethnicity

Chapter.  11741 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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