By Ehud R. Toledano
The booklet appears on the bonds of slavery from an unique viewpoint, relocating clear of the conventional master/slave domination paradigm towards the viewpoint of the enslaved and their responses to their plight. With prepared and unique insights, Toledano indicates new methods of pondering enslavement.
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Extra info for As If Silent and Absent: Bonds of Enslavement in the Islamic Middle East
Society was cohesively undergirded both vertically (within a household) and horizontally (alliances among households). Not infrequently, individuals were bonded to a household through more than one of these ties, as, for example, when the purchased kul-type retainer of the household head was also married to his daughter. Attachment to a household gave an individual protection, employment, and social status. Not less significantly, it gave household members (kapı halkı) a sense of belonging and an identity, both social and political.
36 understanding enslavement as a human bond person could have constructed in specific circumstances, build a bank of available options, and consider the options of which the person could have been aware or unaware at the time of action or non-action. To be able to offer credible scenarios—both on the basis of the available evidence and by filling the existing gaps—we need to reconstruct the social and cultural environment in which these life stories were unfolding. Although quantitative and statistically acceptable studies in this area are relatively rare, qualitative, in-depth, thick-description-type work is fairly common.
This debate has helped to revise the Decline Paradigm, which is now virtually defunct in Ottomanist discourse, though unfortunately still quite alive outside the field of Middle East studies and even to some extent within sections thereof. 31. The arguments put forth in the following paragraphs are fully developed in my forthcoming book but in part have already been published in two articles: Toledano, “The Emergence of Ottoman-Local Elites (1700–1800): A Framework for Research,” in I. Pappé and M.
As If Silent and Absent: Bonds of Enslavement in the Islamic Middle East by Ehud R. Toledano