The Mahalla: The origins of beylical sovereignty in Ottoman Tunisia during the early modern period

Dalenda Largueche, Julia Clancy-Smith, Caroline Audet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-116
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of North African Studies
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations

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