Health as a social agent in Ottoman patronage and authority.

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Ottoman society and its medical system of the early modern period and the nineteenth-century demonstrate the marriage of medicine and power. I present the view from the imperial center and focus on the aims and wishes of the Ottoman elite and imperial authorities in İstanbul as they were embodied in state activities, such as formal decrees and policies meant to be implemented all over the empire. For the Ottoman elite, medicine was always a significant imperial tool, but it was neither the only tool of control, nor the most important one. The extent to which the Ottoman elite used medicine in its social policies changed over time. A comparison between the Ottoman use and distribution of health and food from the early modern period until the nineteenth century illustrates this point. It was especially during the nineteenth century that medicine was intentionally--and successfully--implemented as a mechanism of control in the Ottoman Empire.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-175
Number of pages29
JournalNew Perspectives on Turkey
Issue number37
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2007


  • Power (Social sciences)
  • Social policy
  • Medical policy
  • Medicine
  • Ottoman Empire
  • Turkey
  • Istanbul
  • Food distribution
  • Modernization
  • Nineteenth century
  • Public health


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