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A socio-spatial approach to the question of class and consciousness formation in a local setting: the case of Bursa industrial workers

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2007
Büyükakça, Murat Çınar
This thesis attempts to challenge the way military historiography deals with the state of the Ottoman army between 1683 and 1792 and the military reform attempts prior to the Nizam-ı Cedid army. Western military historians have ascribed to the inferiority of the Ottoman military technology the waning of the Ottoman military power in the post-1683 period. Any attempt at reform was allegedly obstructed by religious reaction against borrowing European methods and technology. This thesis argues that technology was not the decisive factor in the Ottoman failure against the Austrians and Russians since those two were not too far ahead of the Ottomans with regards to the level of military technology to justify such a conclusion. The comparison with the Russian army, the archenemy of the Ottomans in the period under question, reveals that the Russian success in such departments as conscription, logistics, military leadership and continuous tactical adjustments made to accommodate the needs of steppe warfare, rather than outright application of Western methods of warfare, resulted in victories against the Ottomans. The Ottomans in the meantime were bothered by instability at the Porte, which could neither provide the necessary leadership on the battlefield nor carry out the military reforms. As a result, the vestiges of the Ottoman military organization in its classical form continued to take up economic resources and block any attempts at reform. Religion in this process served as nothing more than a rallying cry for a certain group who vied for power in Istanbul at a time of state formation.