Nationalism as Resistance: Acquiescing to European Identifiers

Part of the Middle East Today book series (MIET)


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.

Works Cited

  1. Abu-Manneh, Butrus. 1979. Sultan Abdulhamid II and Shaikh Abulhuda Al-Sayyadi. Middle Eastern Studies 15 (2): 131–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ahmad, Feroz. 1968. The Young Turk Revolution. Journal of Contemporary History 3 (3): 19–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson, Benedict. 1983. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  4. Antonius, George. 1939. The Arab Awakening: The Story of the Arab National Movement. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company.Google Scholar
  5. Bhabha, Homi. 1994. The Location of Culture. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Blaisdell, Donald C. 1929. European Financial Control in the Ottoman Empire. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bouziri, Said (ed.). 1990. Presse et mémoire: France des étrangers, France des libertés. Paris: Génériques.Google Scholar
  8. Boyar, Ebru. 2006. The Press and the Palace: The Two-Way Relationship Between Abdulhamid II and the Press, 1876–1908. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 69 (3): 417–432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brubaker, Rogers. 2009. Ethnicity, Race, and Nationalism. The Annual Review of Sociology 35: 21–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chalcraft, John. 2016. Popular Politics and the Making of the Modern Middle East. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Connor, Walker. 1994. A Nation Is a Nation, Is a State, Is an Ethnic Group, Is a…. In Nationalism, ed. John Hutchinson and Anthony D. Smith, 36–46. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Davison, Roderic H. 1963. Reform in the Ottoman Empire, 1856–1876. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Davison, Roderic H. 1986. Midhat Pasa and Ottoman Foreign Relations. The Journal of Ottoman Studies 4: 161–173.Google Scholar
  14. Dawisha, Adeed. 2003. Arab Nationalism in the Twentieth Century: From Triumph to Despair. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Delatolla, Andrew, and Joanne Yao. 2019. Racializing Religion: Constructing Colonial Identities in the Syrian Provinces in the Nineteenth Century. International Studies Review 21 (4): 640–661.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Deringil, Selim. 1991. Legitimacy Structures in the Ottoman State: The Reign of Abdulhamid II (1876–1909). International Journal of Middle East Studies 22 (3): 345–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Devereux, Robert. 1963. The First Ottoman Constitutional Period: A Study of the Midhat Constitution and Parliament. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press.Google Scholar
  18. Ergil, Doğu. 1975. A Reassessment: The Young Turks. Their Politics and Anti-Colonial Struggle, Balkan Studies 16 (2): 26–72.Google Scholar
  19. Fanon, Frantz. 2001. The Wretched of the Earth, trans. Constance Farrington. London: Penguin Classics.Google Scholar
  20. Findley, Carter Vaughn. 1980. Bureaucratic Reform in the Ottoman Empire: The Sublime Porte, 1789–1922. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Gellner, Ernest. 1983. Nations and Nationalism. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Hakim, Carol. 2013. The Origins of the Lebanese National Idea, 1840–1920. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  23. Hanioğlu, M.Şükrü. 2001. Preparation for a Revolution: The Young Turks, 1902–1908. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Hanioğlu, M.Şükrü. 2008. A Brief History of the Late Ottoman Empire. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hobsbawm, E.J. 1990. Nations and Nationalism Since 1780: Programme, Myth Reality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Ismail, Adel. 1976a. Documents Diplomatiques et Consulaires Relatifs a l’Histoire du Liban et des Pays du Proche-Orient du XVII Siècle à Nos Jours, vol. 14. Beyrouth: Éditions des Oeuvres Politiques et Historiques.Google Scholar
  27. Ismail, Adel. 1976b. Documents Diplomatiques et Consulaires Relatifs a l’Histoire du Liban et des Pays du Proche-Orient du XVII Siècle à Nos Jours, vol. 18. Beyrouth: Éditions des Oeuvres Politiques et Historiques.Google Scholar
  28. Kayali, Hasan. 1997. Arabs and Young Turks: Ottomanism, Arabism, and Islamism in the Ottoman Empire, 1908–1918. Berkeley: University of California Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Keddie, Nikki R. 1966. The Pan-Islamic Appeal: Afghani and Abdülhamid II. Middle Eastern Studies 3 (1): 46–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kenny, L.M. 1963. Sati’ al-Husri’s Views on Arab Nationalism. Middle East Journal 17 (3): 231–256.Google Scholar
  31. Khalidi, Rashid. 1991. Arab Nationalisms: Historical Problems in the Literature. The American Historical Review 96 (5): 1363–1373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Krämer, Gudrun. 2013. Modern but Not Secular: Religion, Identity and the Ordre Public in the Arab Middle East. International Sociology 28 (6): 629–644.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mardin, Şerif. 1962. Libertarian Movements in the Ottoman Empire 1878–1895. The Middle East Journal 16 (2): 169–182.Google Scholar
  34. Mardin, Şerif. 2000. The Genesis of Young Ottoman Thought: A Study in the Modernization of Turkish Political Ideas. New York: Syracuse University Press.Google Scholar
  35. McMeekin, Sean. 2015. The Ottoman Endgame: War, Revolution, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, 1908–1923. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  36. Miller, Michael L. 2010. From Liberal Nationalism to Cosmopolitan Patriotism: Simon Deutsch and 1848ers in Exile. European Review of History 17 (3): 379–393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Mosca, Gaetano. 1939. The Ruling Class, ed. Arthur Livingstone, trans. Hannah D. Kahn. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  38. Özkırımlı, Umut. 2010. Theories of Nationalism: A Critical Introduction. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.Google Scholar
  39. Pamuk, Şevket. 1999. A Monetary History of the Ottoman Empire. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Pamuk, Şevket. 2009. The Ottoman Empire in the ‘Great Depression’ of 1873–1896. The Journal of Economic History 44 (1): 107–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Quijano, Aníbal. 2000. Coloniality of Power: Eurocentrism and Latin America. Nepantla: Views from South 1 (3): 533–580.Google Scholar
  42. Saliba, Najib E. 1978. The Achievements of Midhat Pasha as Governor of the Province of Syria, 1878–1880. International Journal of Middle East Studies 9 (114): 307–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Salih, Shakeeb. 1977. The British-Druze Connection and the Druze Rising of 1896 in the Hawran. Middle Eastern Studies 13 (2): 251–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Shamir, Shimon. 1974. Midhat Pasha and the Anti-Turkish Agitation in Syria. Middle Eastern Studies 10 (2): 115–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Shaw, Stanford J., and Ezel Kural Shaw. 1977. History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey, Vol 2: Reforms, Revolution, and Republic, the Rise of Modern Turkey 1808–1975. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Smith, Anthony D. 1998. Nationalism and Modernism: A Critical Survey of Recent Theories of Nations and Nationalism. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  47. Smith, Anthony D. 2005. Myths and Memories of the Nation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  48. Sommer, Dorothe. 2015. Freemasonry in the Ottoman Empire: A History of the Fraternity and Its Influence in Syria and the Levant. London: I.B. Tauris.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Stavrianos, L.S. 1963. The Balkans Since 1453. Austin: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.Google Scholar
  50. Tauber, Eliezer. 1993. The Emergence of the Arab Movements. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  51. Ülker, Erol. 2005. Contextualising ‘Turkification’: Nation-Building in the Late Ottoman Empire, 1908–1918. Nations and Nationalism 11 (4): 613–636.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Zürcher, Erik J. 2016. Turkey: A Modern History. London: I.B. Tauris.Google Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations