Reflections of World-System Theory into the Ottoman Studies

The World-System Theory (WST) has been a source of inspiration for many social scientists. This article aims to explore the reflections of this theory on Ottoman/ Turkish studies. The WST has been used as an explanatory tool in several fields of Ottoman history. First of all, the beginning and the process of Ottoman incorporation into the capitalist world-economy is a matter of discussion, and the leading figures of the theory seem to suggest different turning points. The increase in the volume of trade, especially in the 19th century, has been noted by most scholars as one of the most important factors that were effective in the incorporation process. The developments in the infrastructure of the Ottoman Empire such as the extension of railroads and telegram, the improvement of harbors and the revival of port cities have been emphasized by the proponents of this theory. Finally, the emergence of big-farms and agriculture based on mono-culture drew the attention of those who adopted WST as a framework for their social and historical analysis. The article concludes by questioning the use and convenience of western terms and theories as an explanatory tool in Ottoman studies.


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