By tracing the evolution of an ancient North African institution, the mahalla, a mobile military camp and royal progress, Dalenda Larguèrche offers fresh insights into the process of state formation in early modern Tunisia. Employing a comparative methodology, her chapter unravels a paradox in Maghribi history - the development of a locally based monarchical regime, the Husaynid dynasty, during the period when Tunisia was formally a province of the Ottoman Empire. She argues that by combining the Ottoman office of bey with a re-invigorated local institution, the mahalla, a new pattern of political power and legitimacy emerged. Particularly under the Husaynids, the multi-function mahalla became the principal mechanism for transmitting legitimate sovereignty from ruler to prince or heir apparent. Thus Tunisia's political trajectory differed markedly from that of Turkish Algeria or of Morocco.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Political Science and International Relations