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Crime, bandits, and community: how public panic shaped the social control of territory in the Ottoman EmpireThis study explores the role of crime, bandits, and public panic in in the nineteenth century Ottoman society by using archival documents and employing a comparative perspective. In addition to the social bandit concept of Eric Hobsbawm, there is an introduction of two new banditry forms in this study—opportunist bandits and imagined bandits. The comparison of different bandit forms clarifies that social bandits and opportunist bandits aggravated public panic and produced imagined bandits. Hence, public panic and the dissent of local people unveiled through rumors about the imagined bandits. The exploration of different forms of bandits in the Ottoman Empire is a response to the vexed issue concerning the challenges in the social control of territories in a multiethnic and multi-religious empire. This study provides new conceptual tools to rethink about the spatial dimensions in the emergence of bandits. This article shows that spatial factors in the social control of territory can be influenced by the reaction of local people from bottom-to-top and, in doing so, can determine the response of state authority. The present study, therefore, unveils the power relationship in the social control of territory whether it is manifested by physical force or public panic.
Peasants, bandits, and state intervention: The consolidation of authority in the Ottoman Balkans and Southern ItalyThis paper explores the role of bandits and state intervention in the Ottoman Balkans and Southern Italy in the 19th century by using archival documents. I argue that the states may react similarly and radically when their authority is challenged in the periphery. The Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Italy developed the same forms of state intervention to fight against the bandits, even though these two states had fundamentally different political, cultural, and socio-legal structures. I present three different forms of state intervention: (i) victim-centred state intervention; (ii) security-centred state intervention; and (iii) authority-centred state intervention. These three forms consolidated the state's authority while making the two states both fragile and dependent on other social agencies in the long term. I further claim that consolidation of the state's authority manifests the paradox of state intervention and creates more vulnerabilities in traumatic geographies.