Agha, Shaikh and State

The Social and Political Structures of Kurdistan

Martin Van

Agha, Shaikh and State

Martin Van

Distributed for Zed Books

384 pages | 5.4375 x 8.5
Paper $42.95 ISBN: 9781856490191 Published October 1991 For sale in North and South America only
Exacerbated by the Gulf War, the plight of the Kurds is one of the most urgent problems facing the international community. This authoritative study of the Kurdish people provides a deep and varied insight into one of the largest primarily tribal communities in the world.

It covers the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the great Kurdish revolt against republican Turkey, the birth of Kurdish nationalism and the situation of the Kurdish people in Iraq, Turkey and Iran today.

Van Bruinessen's work is already recognized as a key contribution to this subject. Tribe by tribe, he accounts for the evolution of power within Kurdish religious and other lineages, and shows how relations with the state have played a key constitutive role in the development of tribal structures. This is illustrated from contemporary Kurdish life, highlighting the complex interplay between traditional clan loyalties and their modern national equivalents.

This book is essential to any Middle East collection. It has serious implications for the study of tribal life elsewhere, and it documents the history of what has until recently been a forgotten people.
Contents
Preface
Introduction
How this book came to be written
Subject of this study
A note on the written sources
 
1. General Information on Kurdistan
Geography
Geopolitical situation
Population
Other economic activities: crafts/industries and trades
Language
Religion
The Kurdish national movement, 1960-85
Iranian Kurdistan and the Islamic Revolution
The Iran-Iraq war and the Kurds
Saddam Hussein's solution to the Kurdish question
Recent changes in Turkey's attitude
 
2. Tribes, Chieftains and Non-tribal Groups
The tribe and its subdivisions
Kurdish terms
Blood feud and other conflicts
Higher than the tribe?
Leadership and conflicts
Leadership: titles and functions
The guest-house
Economic aspects: tribute to the agha
Leadership situation among a number of different tribes
Power as a process: the colonization of the northern Jazira
Subject 'non-tribal' peasantry and their relations with tribal Kurds
The guran and the Guran
Nomads and peasants: one or two peoples?
Conclusion
 
3. Tribes and the State
Introduction
The incorporation of Kurdistan into the Ottoman Empire
The political history of some Kurdish emirates
Administrative organization of Ottoman Kurdistan in the sixteenth
century
Internal organization of the Kurdish emirates
Political changes in the nineteenth century
The rise of Bedr Khan Beg and the fall of the emirate of Botan
The new land code and its effects
The establishment of Kurdish tribal militias: the Hamidiye
Mustafa Pasha of the Miran
Ibrahim Pasha of the Milan
Changes in the early twentieth century
Conclusions
 
4. Shaikhs: mystics, saints and politicians
Introductory remarks
God incarnate
Dervish and sufi orders
Sufi and dervish orders: organized popular mysticism
The history of the Qadiri order as an example
Qadiri shaikhs in Kurdistan
The Naqshbandi tariqa and the Naqshbandi order
Why did the Naqshbandi order spread so rapidly?
Rituals of the Qadiri order
The Naqshbandi ritual
Shaikh and khalifa: relations with other shaikhs
The shaikh and his followers
Millenarianism
Decline of the shaikhs' influence
Islamic revival: the Nurcu movement
 
5. Shaikh Said's Revolt
Introduction
History of Kurdish national consciousness
The end of the Ottoman Empire and the birth of the Republic of Turkey
The first Kurdish political organizations
Shaikh Said's revolt
External and internal support for the revolt
The Naqshbandi order and the revolt
The religious versus the nationalist character of the revolt
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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