Assembling the Ethnic Identity in the Early Modern Ottoman Society through Clothing Consumption

2017-06-30
Assembling the Ethnic Identity in the Early Modern Ottoman Society through Clothing Consumption Eminegül Karababa Department of Business Administration, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey Assembling the Ethnic Identity in the Early Modern Ottoman Society through Clothing Consumption 274 Abstract Purpose The purpose of this paper is to understand and conceptualize the ethno-religious identity construction process in an early modern society, sixteenth and seventeenth century Ottoman society. Design/methodology/approach Historical data sources such as visual records, travelers notes and governmental records are analyzed in this study to show the ethno-religious identity formation. Assemblage theory is utilized to conceptualize the identity construction process. Research limitation/implications This study mostly excludes male members of the society because of the uniforms that they wore for their occupations. Keywords identity, Ottoman society, early-modernity, clothing, assemblage Paper Type Research Ethnic identities are expressed, produced and reproduced through consumption. (Askegaard et al., 2005; Crockett and Wallendorf, 2004; Oswald, 1999; Peñaloza, 1994; Thompson and Tambyah, 1999). Ethnicity is a relatively new concept (Spencer, 2006), emerged after nation states became dominant form of system of government. In contemporary social theory, an ethnic group is understood as a subgroup within a broader society; its members see themselves as distinct, and they claim kinship and common history, and share symbols such as consumption objects representing the group identity (Cornell and Hartmann, 1998). However, when this concept is applied to the early modern context, religion is more significant than the claims of kinship, culture, or common history in defining ethnicity (Bartlett, 2001). The aim of the current study is to understand and conceptualize the ethno-religious identity construction process in an early modern society, sixteenth and seventeenth century Ottoman society. Ethnic identity is continuously constructed by group members and others whom they encounter. That is, internal and external definitions of ethnicity are continuously constructed (Spencer, 2006). Ethnic identities are assigned to a group and defined, accepted, resisted, redefined, rejected, or defended by the group members (Cornell and Hartmann, 1998). In other words, groups continuously make assumptions based on the categories of us and them (Spencer, 2006). Symbolism expressed through dress is a way of representing the categories of us and them and their characteristics. This chapter specifically looks at how ethnicities in early modern Ottoman society were continuously constructed through the symbolism of dress. Ottoman context is interesting in the sense that geographically it extended from Crimea to Sudan, from Bosnia to the Persian Gulf, from the Caucasus to Morocco. It was made up of many populations (Fisher, 1971) such as Hungarians, Serbians, Croatians, Bosnians, Albanians, Romanians, Bulgarians, Greeks, Turks, Arabs, Jews, Berbers, Kurds, Laz people, Armenians, and Georgians. Groups had their own shared histories, customs, belief systems, and everyday practices that differentiated them from the others and gave them an identity. Also, interactions between groups in the region resulted in similarities or hybrid formations between groups. The ways that people adorned their bodies, their dress, and their accessories were symbols representing group identities. This study utilizes European travellers notes and their drawings, costume albums, and Sultans decrees as data sources. Travellers described and interpreted and sometimes sketched clothing of different ethnicities that they have encountered. Costume albums depict the Ottoman people s clothing styles according to their social categories such as gender, age, profession, ethnicity. Travellers notes and visual data are useful for identifying the dress of different ethnic and religious groups, and how interactions with outsiders construct external definitions of an ethnicity. Sartorial codes show both the state s interpretation of original ethnic clothing and their role in shaping the ethnic identity. Also, ethnic group s practices are presented in the texts of these sartorial code
Citation Formats
E. Karababa, “Assembling the Ethnic Identity in the Early Modern Ottoman Society through Clothing Consumption,” presented at the onference on Historical Analysis and Research in Marketing (CHARM), (1 - 04 Haziran 2017), Liverpool, İngiltere, 2017, Accessed: 00, 2021. [Online]. Available: http://charmassociation.org/CHARM20proceedings/CHARM20article20archive20pdf20format/Volume2018202017.pdf.