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"The countryside and land regulations in the Ottoman provinces"

Abstract : The communication aims to discuss the rural conflicts which arose from the mid-19 th century Ottoman reform. While recent studies of the Syrian countryside have given an in-depth analysis of the economic aspects of these reforms, the new social relations and the evolution of the laws they engendered, research has focused on how the implementation-and first of all, the translation of the law-at the local stage affected the relations of domination between the notables ('ayān), who maintained ownership of the land, and the farmers who worked on that land. Studying these relations allows us to understand the new relationship established between the Ottoman authorities and local elites. It also allows us to analyse the interpretation of the law, and explain how this legal category introduced by the reforms empowered some specific groups at the local stage, forcing the reorganisation of the political elites in Ottoman Syria. This presentation is based mostly on an in-depth reading of religious and secular tribunals (shāri' and nizāmī) in the Tabū archive. This communication is a contribution for panel organized by Matthieu Rey "The Boundaries of State Intervention: dealing with ‘property’ in modern Syria". The panel aimed to historicize the relationship between the state and individuals through a reconsideration of the status of property. Law n°10, recently issued by Bashar al-Assad, aroused controversy as it allowed the regime to deprive certain citizens of their rights to own land. The terms of the debate quickly turned to sectarian issues and discussion of how the law enables the Syrian regime to override the Sunni majority and increase the access to property for the minorities. This panel departs from the sectarian hypothesis by highlighting how the very notion of property has been shaped by the emergence of the modern Syrian state (post Tanzimat era), and evolved alongside the dynamic of the state. Authorities have tried to encroach on local power through the definition of landowners' rights. By focusing on three different stages, the Ottoman period, the Independence, and the current time (from the war to post-conflict stage), the panel aims to explain how property has always been at the core of the dialogue between individuals and authorities, as both struggled to preserve or extend their prerogatives on the local stage. Studying the role and status of property underlines how the state exercised its power overs its territory.
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https://hal-amu.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02532448
Contributor : Vanessa Guéno <>
Submitted on : Sunday, April 5, 2020 - 11:12:34 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, April 7, 2020 - 2:13:51 AM

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Vanessa Guéno. "The countryside and land regulations in the Ottoman provinces". Nordic Conference on Middle Eastern Studies, Aug 2019, Helsinki, Finland. ⟨hal-02532448⟩

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