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Great Britain and the Ottoman Empire: British Discourses on the ‘Ottomans’, 1860-1878

Cicektakan, Nazim Can (2014) Great Britain and the Ottoman Empire: British Discourses on the ‘Ottomans’, 1860-1878. PhD thesis, University of Essex.


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This dissertation explores British perceptions of and discourses on the ‘Ottomans’ in the mid-nineteenth century, which have been largely overlooked in the existing literature. It approaches the question through three case studies analysing the construction of the perceptions through a discourse-analytic framework. This thesis is divided into two main parts, with the first part providing essential background information for the three case studies which make up the second part. Chapter 1 (Introduction) sets out the research question and the methodology. Chapter 2 looks at the development of Anglo-Ottoman relations from the beginning until the nineteenth century, identifying important stages in these relations which in turn impacted upon British perceptions. These early British perceptions are traced in Chapter 3, indentifying a range of perceptions none of which achieve a dominant position in the British public discourse on the Ottoman Empire and the Ottomans. Part 2 constitutes the core of the dissertation. Chapter 4 focuses on Britain and the Ottoman Empire in the 1860s and 1870s, analysing the wider setting which forms the background to the case studies. Chapter 5 examines the Lebanon Crisis of 1860 tracing the formation of two discourses on the Ottomans in Britain: the sick-man discourse and the integrity discourse, which competed for dominance in the public debate. Chapter 6 examines the Cretan Crisis of 1866, which showed the continued use of these two discourses, with the sick-man discourse finding more support but not yet dominating the debate. This changes during the Bulgarian Atrocities Campaign of 1876, which is explored in Chapter 7. During this crisis, the sick-man discourse undergoes both a radicalisation and popularisation following the graphic coverage in the British press of the atrocities committed in the Balkans which is picked up by politicians who feel the need to respond to pressure from the streets. The Conclusion sums up the main findings of the dissertation and discusses how far the nineteenth-century constructions of the Ottomans as the ‘other’ in Britain remain relevant in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, when the Muslims take the place of the Ottomans as the ‘other’.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > History, Department of
Depositing User: Nazim Cicektakan
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2015 09:43
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2015 12:26

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