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Wartime Crisis and the New Order: The Policing of Istanbul, 1789–92

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Chapter Summary

Regulating urban life in Istanbul constituted a major concern for the Ottoman authorities throughout the eighteenth century. This chapter focuses on the early years of Selim III's reign, from his accession in 1789 until 1792/93, after which the reform agenda shifted significantly to military reforms and the challenge of funding them. It examines patterns of continuity and change in relation to earlier regulations on public order in the city. The chapter also argues that the policies implemented during the early 1790s reveal an unprecedented emphasis on the policing and surveillance of the population and marginal groups. The severity with which enhanced regulations were implemented, as well as the increased regularity of surveillance, presumably also implied increased violence against the populace in the form of exemplary punishments and an increase in the fear of unpredictable selective punishments.

Keywords: Istanbul; military reforms; Ottoman; public order; Selim III



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