Origins of a consumer culture in an early modern context : Ottoman Bursa
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Studies on the origins of the modern consumer culture generally focus on the early modern western context with the inherent assumption that today’s modern consumer culture had its origins in the early modern west. This study examines origins of an early modern consumer culture in a non-western context; Ottoman Empire between the mid-sixteenth to mid-seventeenth centuries and investigates how particularities of the context shaped a different consumer culture. Specifically the study focuses the town of Bursa. In the Ottoman context, social structure provided differences from the previously theorized western contexts concerning consumer culture phenomena. Ottoman context had a different dominant class and relatively high level of upward mobility among the ranks. Ottoman dominant class allowed the entry of lowest echelons and had intergenerational downward mobility. Multiple data sources including archival data were used to conduct this historical research. Quantitative and qualitative data analysis techniques were complemented. Findings show that indeed an early modern consumer culture in a non-western context existed. In addition, the characteristics of the Ottoman social structure shaped a different Ottoman consumer culture both in terms of appropriation of different categories of goods and the processes of fashion and diffusion of goods.