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The Proper Order of ThingsLanguage, Power, and Law in Ottoman Administrative Discourses$
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Heather L. Ferguson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781503603561

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9781503603561.001.0001

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The Bureaucratic State

The Bureaucratic State

Reforming Documentary Practices

(p.106) Chapter Three The Bureaucratic State
The Proper Order of Things

Heather L. Ferguson

Stanford University Press

This chapter analyzes the emergence of new cohorts of bureaucrats under Süleyman I and an expanded jurisdiction for sultanic authority. His reign marked a shift from hybrid to hegemonic administrative, textual, and linguistic practices and demonstrated the coincident importance of military, legal, and textual campaigns. The chapter follows the legal activities of Süleyman’s head chancellor, Celalzade Mustafa, and şeyhülislam Ebu’s-Su‘ud Efendi, as they addressed increasing competition with rivals such as the Habsburgs and the Safavids and contributed to an administrative reorganization intent on asserting sultanic rights to resources. This led, as one example, to a new mechanism for registering imperial affairs, the mühimme defteri (things of import), which “captured” the varied activities of the administration. Collectively, the copies of daily transactions recorded in the mühimme illustrate an effort to conform regional diversity to an ideal of imperial order, and to co-opt political factions capable of subverting dynastic authority.

Keywords:   nişancı, şeyhülislam, chancery, scribes, scholar-bureaucrats, mühimme, Celalzade Mustafa, Ebus-suud Efendi

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