Marriage and divorce in early twentieth century Ottoman society : the law of family rights of 1917
Embargo Lift Date: 2030-08-25
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As a result of reforms, related socioeconomic changes, and wars, at the turn of the 20th century, problems related to family matters were demanding in the late Ottoman Empire. People were confused over issues of marriage, divorce, alimony, and inheritance. Muslim jurists and politicians thus eventually became aware of the need for change in Islamic family law. Besides, legal modernization and the use of law as a tool for social control—for the processes of nation building, the creation of the Ottoman citizen, and the establishment of a new family structure—in the late Ottoman Empire had changed the Ottoman legal culture and required a reform in all areas of Islamic law including the family law. Despite their importance, the issues of family law remain understudied for the late Ottoman Empire. The general historiography focuses on visible political institutions, diplomatic events, and intellectual currents. Besides, an equation of the West with progress and modernity and of the East with stagnation and tradition, which still dominates much of the discussion on family law reform, obscures the possible explanations. Hence, the main objective of this work is the presentation and exploration of the legal, political, sociocultural, and economic contexts of the family law reform and the reformed law’s application in the new Ottoman legal culture to examine the compatibility between legal innovation and the needs of state and society.