The rich and the poor: wealth polarization in late eighteenth-century 'Ayntab
Pehlivan, Zozan (2008) The rich and the poor: wealth polarization in late eighteenth-century 'Ayntab. [Thesis]
Official URL: http://192.168.1.20/record=b1266173 (Table of Contents)
Research on wealth distribution contains important referents regarding socio-economic structure. Within this context, this thesis depicts a socio-economic portrait of a town, Ayntab, on the periphery of the Ottoman Empire during the late eighteenth-century. Accordingly, establishing a correlation between wealth and social status, and honorific titles in particular, from 1775 until 1777, is undertaken by examining a statistical sample drawn from one tereke defter [estate inventory] to reveal the complex relationship between social status, wealth, indebtedness, property ownership, and profession. Quantitative techniques first estimate wealth stages/ranges among titled and untitled inhabitants of 'Ayntab in order to identify socio-economic groups and compare decedents' assets with honorific titles. Analysis of estate inventories enables this writer to then evaluate the distribution of wealth in 'Ayntab and many contemporary towns in the Ottoman Empire in a comparative perspective. Information on deceased's estates confirms a highly stratified social environment in late eighteenth-century 'Ayntab. My analysis corroborates the hypothesis that honorific titles and wealth were closely correlated; however, the possession of a title did not automatically confer wealthy status; socio-economic background was also characteristic determinant. Inequality and polarization in the distribution of wealth were the two common characteristics of the economic portrait of elite/titled holders and commoners/untitled people in these urban centers.
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