The transformation of the İstanbul artisans and traders (esnaf) in the late Ottoman Empire: 1839-1922

Süt, Pınar
This study examines the integration of artisans and traders into the new administrative structure in Istanbul through municipalities between 1839-1922, as well as the abolition of their guilds during this integration process. The study suggests that the underlying reasons in changing of the conditions of these groups and the abolition of the guilds cannot be explained only with the dynamics of economy, such as the integration of the Ottoman market into the European capitalist economic system, mechanization in production, and free-trade practices, but they were also related to the changing administrative necessities. The new administrative system, legislation, marketplace supervision, and the change in the professional organization model impacted the transformation of these groups. Furthermore, this study argues that the abolition of the guild wardenship was not only the result of their economic loss of power, but it was also the outcome of the administrative modernization in the Ottoman Empire. The conflicts emerged in the guilds upon the guild’s warden position and its responsibilities played crucial roles in the abolition of the guilds. The study is set on two essential questions: The first one is that how the artisans and traders of Istanbul adapted themselves to the administrative restructuring in the nineteenth century, and the second one is that what kind of an organizational transformation took place from guilds to esnaf associations.
Citation Formats
P. Süt, “The transformation of the İstanbul artisans and traders (esnaf) in the late Ottoman Empire: 1839-1922,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2021.