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Nationalism as Resistance: Acquiescing to European Identifiers

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Part of the Middle East Today book series (MIET)

Abstract

Discussed in this chapter, and building on the arguments of Chapters  4,  5, and  6, nationalism, as part of the nineteenth century global transformations, became increasingly prominent in the Ottoman Empire as a form of a resistance. In the first instance, the Young Ottomans were engaged in a political strategy that sought to merge customary identity markers with aspects of modernity, including the establishment of state institutions. Constructing their movement in relation to European norms of civilized engagement and statehood, they mobilized Islamic identity markers as a point of difference. By engaging with, and acquiescing to, European standards or benchmarks, the Young Ottomans attempted to resist continued European interference and interventions by engaging in the discourses, norms, and structures of modernity. Although the Young Ottomans failed to resist continued European interference and intervention, they managed to make social and political inroads. In particular, they were foundational for the development of the Young Turk movement and the emergence of Syrian and Arab nationalists. However, while the Young Turks, and Syrian and Arab nationalists were attempting to resist European interference, they were also positioned against each other, often relying on the racial characterizations to resist each other’s demands and claims. These nationalist movements were not only mobilizing political programs, but ethnic identity markers with the aim of making legitimate claims to statehood. Despite attempts to engage in what was perceived as civilized progress, the national movements were continuously denied autonomy.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lecturer in Middle Eastern Studies, School of Languages, Cultures, and SocietiesUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK

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