Perception of Modern Science in the Tanzimat Period

Erdogan A.

TURKISH JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY-SOSYOLOJI DERGISI, vol.3, no.26, pp.1-31, 2013 (ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 3 Issue: 26
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-31
  • Keywords: Ottoman Modernization, Modern Science, Technical Knowledge, Sociology of Knowledge, Schools of Tanzimat, Madrasah
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


In this study, departing from the arguments of comparative and historical sociology of knowledge, the rise of modern science in the Tanzimat period as a first phase of the institutional modernization of the Ottoman State will be interpreted. This article will showcase statements that the sociology of knowledge, which has developed in relation to the rise of modern knowledge, cannot explain the institutionalization of Ottoman science. And in this context, the specificity of the improving conditions of Ottoman science and the insufficiency of comparative-historical sociology of knowledge for explaining the type of knowledge produced via transference is highlighted. It is a conclusion of this study that rationalization and secularization, the conditions that engender modern knowledge, are the result of the transfer process of modern knowledge rather than a pre-condition in Ottoman society. Moreover, it will be stated that science and technology -which are perceived as the reasons for the "progress" in the West-were produced within the Ottoman structure rather than being the outcomes of a pragmatic transformation of Ottoman modernization. In order to elucidate the character of Ottoman modernization, the perception of the political elite on Western science is depicted.