Hakk or right: a Veblenian narration of the differences between the justice notions in Western Europe and Turkey

Öncü, Ahmet (2019) Hakk or right: a Veblenian narration of the differences between the justice notions in Western Europe and Turkey. Journal of Historical Sociology, 32 (1). pp. 108-123. ISSN 0952-1909 (Print) 1467-6443 (Online)

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Using Veblen's status emulation theory in the background, but essentially engaged in theoretical debates on the transition to capitalism and modernity, this paper attempts to provide a comparative account of different forms of domination in Western European feudal society and the Ottoman Empire. In contrast, an individualistic representation of reality gained prevalence in social conflicts in Western Europe, precisely because forms of exploitation associated with European serfdom were far more severe and un-tempered than was true for the Ottoman Empire. Due to being short of a legitimate claim to genuine nobility, Western European feudal aristocracy was driven into an insatiable hunger for luxury and waste. In the absence of a powerful central authority, members of this class “turned inward” for their ever-increasing exploits and waged war against their servants, living and working under their private jurisdictions. The peasants, both free and serf, not only revolted repeatedly, but also ran into the cities to have “fairly secure property rights” so that they would be “the lord” or “dominus” of their own lives and morality. Out of this, a new justice notion had grown, that of natural rights law, which equated all human individuals within one single concern, that of “the right to self-preservation,” eventually dragging the whole social fabric into heightened self-centeredness. The Ottoman ruling class could not turn inward and wage an open class war against its servants. This was the land of peace, dar-al Islam. All people, Muslim and non-Muslim lived, or were supposed to live, in peace and harmony under the supreme order of Hakk. The transition to an individualistic justice notion along the lines of natural rights law was on the whole clogged in Turkey.
Item Type: Article
Divisions: Sabancı Business School
Depositing User: Ahmet Öncü
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2023 21:06
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2023 21:06
URI: https://research.sabanciuniv.edu/id/eprint/47050

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