Ottoman urban institutions and urban governance: a framework for inquiry

DSpace Repository


Dokumentart: Buch (einzelnes Kapitel)
Date: 2023-02
Source: Ben-Bassat, Yuval; Büssow, Johann: From the Household to the Wider World. Tübingen University Press, 2022
Language: English
Other Keywords: urban history
urban governance
urban nodal points
public space
Ottoman Syria and Palestine
Middle East
local-imperial interaction
translocal entanglements
non-elite actors
License: Creative Commons - Attribution, Non Commercial, No Derivs
Show full item record


The urban history of late Ottoman Syria and Palestine (Bilad al-Sham) is a maturing field of research, and we can now go beyond the format of single-city studies that have dominated the literature over the past decades. Given this fortunate situation, this article addresses three key challenges for a more integrated urban history of the region: How can urban history respond to today’s heightened awareness of cities as crucial spaces in which socio-political processes on various scales interact with localized material structures? How can we capture the trans-local entanglements and connections of individual cities? How can we assess both the commonalities and the specificities of specific developments through comparison? As an answer, we propose a bottom-up and actor-centered perspective on urban history that focuses on urban institutions, defined as systems of social rules that structure social interactions. We further propose to study how urban institutions were anchored in concrete places and material structures, which we call urban nodal points, and how institutions and nodal points were embedded in urban governance, i.e., the ways in which urban societies make decisions on collective problems, and thereby modify the institutional and material landscape of the city.

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

cc_by-nc-nd Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as cc_by-nc-nd