Surveillance and the transformation of public sphere in the Ottoman Empire

This article aims to historicize the transformation of the public sphere in the late Ottoman Empire as an unintended consequence of the surveillance practices of the state. This transformation is explained with reference to two crucial large scale processes: state-making and capitalism. It takes the police and policing practices of the state as an arena within which the struggle over the control of the public sphere was waged. By analyzing those practices especially in relation to two different social groups - vagrants and workers- the article aims to show how the penetration of the state into the daily lives of the people and the intrusion of capitalism into the relations in the work place effect the transformation of what is “private” and what is “public”. The story of this transformation in the Ottoman Empire is the story of the dissolution of the traditional social control systems, such as guilds, neighborhood and family.


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Citation Formats
F. Ergut, “Surveillance and the transformation of public sphere in the Ottoman Empire,” ODTÜ Gelişme Dergisi, vol. 34, no. 2, pp. 173–193, 2007, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: