Modernization in the legal field during the late Ottoman era and its impact on the state perception of women on the margins
Demirkol, Büşra (2017) Modernization in the legal field during the late Ottoman era and its impact on the state perception of women on the margins. [Thesis]
The main aim of this study is to try to understand modernization attempts of the Ottoman Empire during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries through reforms in the legal field and to reveal reforms’ effects on the state-society relationship through state perception of the women marginality. Although questioned reforms in the legal field was covering a range of changes from new courts to the constitution of police service, limited scope of the study is restricted to focus on reforms in the penal law. By examining 1840, 1851 and 1858 penal codes, the study aimed to focus on changing state mindset which lies behind the codification activities during the questioned terms. In order to understand how reforms in the legal structure and formal law change the relationship between the state and society, state perception of the women marginality is taken as an epitomic case. In a more detailed way, the questions of abortion, prostitution and incarceration practices of women inmates are taken as specific case studies. At this point this study mainly argues that, while until the nineteenth century the Ottoman sui generis legal structure and culture was recognizing a legal freedom to women marginality in a quite extensive private manner, during the modernization attempts of the empire, legitimately private women marginality was redefined and repositioning within the boundaries of public and subjected to state intervention through reforms in the penal field. In other words, the women marginality and criminality was redefined and constructed through reforms in the legal and especially penal field during the late Ottoman era.
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