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Honor And Influence: The Legal Process

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Chapter Summary

Law, according to Bourdieu, is a cultural domain that ‘constitutes’ and ‘consecrates’ the social reality as is; therefore it is more closely related to the social world and relations of power than any other cultural field. It can be maintained that the connection between the domain of law and the social world was probably even more transparent before the technocratic and depersonalized apparatus of the modern state came to control all aspects of the legal process, gradually eliminating the role of the local communities. Ottoman law, like premodern Islamic law and legal practice in general, involved a wide range of non-professional, private/communal mechanisms. Several findings of this chapter point to a clear resonance between social hierarchy and the legal process, which calls for a nuanced understanding of the actual accessibility and ‘egalitarian’ nature of the Ottoman judicial system.

Keywords: ʿAyntAb; legal process; Ottoman court records; Ottoman judicial system; Ottoman law; political authority; righteous witnesses; social hierarchy



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