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LOCAL ELITES AND COMMUNITIES IN THE MANAGEMENT OF PUBLIC ORDER DURING THE 18th CENTURY: PERCEPTIONS FROM THE CORE EUROPEAN TERRITORIES OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE

Mariya Shusharova, Institute of Balkan Studies & Centre of Thracology

Abstract: During the 17th and 18th century the Ottoman state implemented various mechanisms to organize the system of public order mobilizing the local resources of the province. This study aims at exploring the expanding scope of local communities’ obligations by detailed view of their role in the various stages in the treatment of criminal matters: reporting the crime/ complaint; arrest, persecution; the trial/ investigation; punishment. The elaboration of the local social microstructure and the development of new social relations represented by the emergence of the local communal elites had a clear repercussion on the development and upgrading of different socio-legal mechanisms in the context of the administration of the public offences. These competences of the local communities were a result of a long evolution and they became of key importance in the context of the widespread brigandage during the second half of the 18th century.

Keywords: Ottoman Provincial Elites, Local Communities, Ayan, Nezir, Eşkiya