A gate to the emotional world of pre-modern Ottoman society: an attempt to write Ottoman history from “the inside out”
Beginning in the 1980’s, the research produced on various fields of knowledge including history, neuroscience, sociology, psychology and anthropology asserted that emotions are not only a product of biochemical but also cognitive processes. It is now commonly accepted that emotions do have a history, they are socially constructed changing across time and space. This thesis is an attempt to revisit the relations established within the pre-modern Ottoman society, by taking emotions into consideration. The relations are analyzed within three dimensions; the state and the subjects, intra-communal relations and familial ties. It is argued that the Ottoman state, each taife/cemaat within the society and families were not only social but also emotional communities. The collectively constructed emotional norms and codes of each emotional community and their reflections in political relations, negotiations and daily practices are elaborated via linguistic and discourse analysis of the primary sources. This thesis offers a new perspective and direction in Ottoman social history and thus stands as a first such attempt. The main emotion code, as reflected in the primary sources, was “telif-i kulûb” and “mahabbet” between the ruler and the ruled; “rıza ve şükran” for the community members; and “hüsn-i zindegani ve musafat” for husbands and wives. It is emphasized in this thesis that not only the material but also the emotional dimension of the political and social relations was important in shaping relations and that they should not be avoided in Ottoman social history studies.