Genealogy of the Ottoman surveys

Çelik, Mehmet Ali
Thesis aims to look at the language of the Ottoman Surveys, as discourse, and problematize how the subjects of the empire were registered. It is argued that the Ottoman surveys have discursive regularities corresponding to specific regimes of power. In the 15th and the 16th centuries, reaya was registered by tahrir defters in the form of a landholding household unit on the basis of taxation, timar, çift-hane systems. At the end of the 16th century, empire-wide tahrirs were ceased to be conducted. Within the conditions of the 17th century crisis, taxation system of the empire changed and extraordinary taxes were regularized. Avarız and cizye defters were conducted to identify the revenue sources of the state in the 17th and the 18th centuries. Avarız registers surveyed the expanding taxpaying population with household units and economic status, including some members of askeri class. Cizye defters registered taxpaying non-Muslim households/heads with economic status. In the 19th century, the subjects of the empire were surveyed on the basis of the living individual units starting with 1830s by nüfus defters and with respect to income and property on household based units by temettuat defters. These registers have different characteristics and organization, constituting relations between the subjects and the state via enumeration processes within a discursive framework. This reading leads us into an understanding the processes of subjectification in the Ottoman polity, embedded in the textual organization of these surveys, from the survey of the country to the survey of the population. 


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Citation Formats
M. A. Çelik, “Genealogy of the Ottoman surveys,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2017.