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Reading Clocks, Alla TurcaTime and Society in the Late Ottoman Empire$
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Avner Wishnitzer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226257723

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226257860.001.0001

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Reading Clocks, Alla Turca

Avner Wishnitzer

University of Chicago Press

The growing dependence on clock time in the nineteenth century Ottoman administration was part of a wider trend toward legal-rationalism. Clock-based temporal constructs, like the rationally devised laws and regulations that gradually came to cover nearly every aspect of bureaucratic life, were intended to serve as a standard external to the system and applied equally to all individuals within it. Like the laws and regulations, however, the newly created temporal constructs never did acquire that lofty status and were often abused by the very people who created them, or by those who were supposed to enforce their application. Yet, despite uneven application, the reforms in time organization did bring about significant changes in work routines and eventually, contributed to the formation of a time-conscious bureaucratic elite that emphasized the importance of time-thrift, regularity and punctuality for Ottoman modernization.

Keywords:   time, Ottoman, bureaucracy, administration, clocks, reforms, modernization, Nineteenth century

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