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Woods / Book Reviews 83 Modernism? Architecture and the Politics of Transition in Egypt, 1936–1967 which focuses on architecture and urban planning in Egypt during the period of political transition around the 1952 coup d’état. doi:10.2979/jims.1.1.07 Law and Legality in the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey Kent F. Schull, M. Safa Saraçoğlu, and Robert Zens, eds. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2016. 199 pages. Law and Legality in the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey is a welcomed addition to a small body of detailed works in comparative legal studies of the Middle East and North Africa. Perhaps because of the language skills required in addition to access to archival materials often available only in the Middle East and North Africa, the number of monographs and edited volumes in English in this area of research remains relatively small. As such, Schull, Saraçoğlu, and Zens’ edited volume is an exceedingly valuable contribution. It makes available and considerably more legible to English-speaking scholars who do not have Middle Eastern language skills a range of specific and detailed topics in comparative legal studies that would otherwise be unavailable. This body of work addresses issues including: legal literacy, judicial and non-judicial actors in legal processes, individual property ownership, legal debates around the notion of the free market, women’s rights, legal pluralism, crime and punishment, refugees, and the rule of law. Some of the studies explicitly adopt a micro-level approach to their analyses, others adopt alternative case study approaches, and all draw upon a body of archival research, which, taken collectively, is extremely impressive. Overall, the collection sets forth larger themes in comparative legal studies of the Middle East and North Africa. The idea of legal literacy, as framed in the opening case study chapter by Timothy Fitzgerald, continues as a theme throughout the volume. Likewise, the rule of law, it becomes clear throughout the volume, was a hallmark of the Ottoman legal system. Contrary to Weberian and other approaches to such notions as Qadi justice (p. 2), the detailed case studies of this volume demonstrate that the law was expected by both state and society to be both systematic and just. A few case studies demonstrate the raw edges in which law might not be practiced in its ideal 84 Journal of Islamic and Muslim Studies, Vol. 1.1 systematic and just forms. But other chapters demonstrate the extent of efforts on the part of the Ottoman state to ensure a systematic rule of law, as well as pressure from citizenry if that ideal was not felt to be achieved. This interaction among state and social actors is a third consistent theme emerging from the case studies of this volume: the Ottoman state engaged in centuries of interactions with local nobles and local communities to ensure a widespread legal literacy, knowledge of legal norms, and efforts at their systematic application. These works detail a remarkable range of accounts of interactions between state and society within the Ottoman Empire on issues of law, legality , and courts. These accounts come from archival materials offering a previously hidden picture of Ottoman and Turkish legality, and of law and courts in practice, in theory, and in coordination with both state and society. While the title of the volume includes both the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey, most of the chapters offer micro-level analyses of law and legality within the Ottoman Empire, with some valuable contributions on the modern state of Turkey as well. Schull and Saraçoğlu open with an explanation of the raîson d’être of the volume: an analysis of law, legality, and legitimation. As such, the editors seek to treat law and courts as institutions that are part of the broader state but are also tied to more ethereal factors such as “patterns of knowing, feeling, and acting,” which themselves contain significance for concrete questions of legal legitimacy and legitimacy of the state. The “social roots” of legal legitimacy are important concerns for this volume and are included as components of most of the studies contained within it (p. 1). Links – tensions...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2470-7074
Print ISSN
2470-7066
Pages
pp. 83-88
Launched on MUSE
2019-01-01
Open Access
No
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