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Social Identity and Patterns of Interaction in the Sharia Court of Kastamonu (1740-44)

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In this article I introduce quantitative techniques and procedures to analyze how various social groups in mid-18th-century Ottoman Kastamonu experienced the court process. By processing the information found in three Kastamonu court registers, I attempt to determine the group identities of court clients and to compare the choices made by different groups in various legal circumstances. I will identify the kinds of issues brought to court by different segments of the social hierarchy, and the legal adversaries and/or contracting parties brought to court by these court clients; and I will assess how these groups fared in their disputes. My analysis confirms the existence of diverse patterns of court use by various groups in 18th-century Kastamonu and the differential use of the court's services by clients with different social and economic backgrounds.

Affiliations: 1: University of Vermont, 313 Wheeler House, 133 S. Prospect St., Burlington VT 05405


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