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Women, Advertising, & the Ottoman Empire
In this paper, I intend to look at the issues of advertising and women in the Ottoman Empire. I will identify how advertising forms had the ability of impacting women within in the Ottoman Empire as well as how the advertising forms had a general impact on Ottoman society as a whole. I will mainly focus on the nineteenth century and twentieth century in my analysis. However, I will make reference to the conditions that preceded the context of my analysis. First, I want to elaborate on the context from which I begin my enquiry. The Ottoman Empire didn’t feel the true forces of modernization until around the nineteenth century. Some have identified the date at which the Ottoman regime faced political, financial, and social challenges associated with modernization as the 1830s. As the regime began to feel the impacts of modernization, the Sultan felt the pressures from European powers. Soon the military and the bureaucratic apparatus begin to show signs of strain. Of course, the challenges associated with modernization ultimately reached the society as a whole. At this time, there was a flood of mass-produced goods. Many of these goods came from different trade agreements that had recently been signed with the European states. The influx of goods and increased trade diminished the traditional guild methods of production as well as consumption throughout the Empire. At the time, the urban areas in the Empire could have been described as cosmopolitan. The major cities were a combination of minority groups, Europeans, Levantines, and a wealthy bureaucratic class who were largely accepting of European ways of living and European ideals. I mention this context in order to show how modernization had begun to affect the region. I also want to highlight how the cities within the Ottoman Empire were becoming highly diversified. In other words, the Empire was undergoing major shifts toward a more multiethnic character as well as shifts toward an acceptance of European or “Western” ways of living. At the turn of the twentieth century, the makeup of the Ottoman Empire was a mixture between Turkish Ottomans, Armenians, Jews, Muslims, Greeks, and Europeans. Complex cultural and religious groupings such as this inherently demand a market for a diverse range of products. Not until the 1860s did Western companies enter the Ottoman markets. However, when the Western influences entered the Ottoman realm, a tendency toward liberal economic policies had already been instituted along with quickly advancing cultural and social developments. Many scholars refer to the entrance of, for instance, Western marketing forces, as the systematic Westernization of urban spaces within the Empire (Duben & Behar 1991). During the times between the 1870s and 1914, multinational companies were fueling the process of globalization (Jones 2005). This transition in business practice (e.g. globalization) was thought to move from the more advanced parts of the world to less industrial areas (Wilkins 2005). Of course, the Ottoman Empire was one of the first regions to be affected by globalization. Most scholarly surveys focus on the notion that Western companies operating in the Ottoman Empire are premised on the ideas of imperialism or dependency. However, these types of analysis are lacking in the appropriate scope. To actually understand the situation of the time from a perspective that moves beyond simple readings that claim imperialistic forces were at play, it is good to look at the Ottoman consumer culture. The consumer culture was perhaps best represented in the ways companies advertised their products. It is also important to look at who the buyers of these products were and what the perception of these buyers ultimately was. In this paper, I will be focusing on marketing and advertising in order to advance an analysis of the late-Ottoman Empire as something...
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