Author(s): Mehmet Devrim TOPSES

In the Weberian sense, the patrimonialism refers to that the authority is strictly organized from top to bottom in a particular social structure and the central authority controls all layers of the hierarchical structure. In this regard, in Weber's literature, the concept of patrimonialism is used together with the concept of despotism. The patrimonial culture was nurtured and kept alive by the centralized and despotic features of the Ottoman social structure. The “holy state” mentality in the society of Turkey, in which the state can by no means be criticized and the people succumb to the state, bears the traces of the centuries-old patrimonial culture. On the other hand, the Western social structure between the 5th and 15th centuries displayed some feudal features in which there was no central authority and the scattered property structures stood out. The power structures having some multipolar and centrifugal features created a suitable social reality for the development and adoption of the cultural elements such as “civil society” and “individualization” in the Western social structure. This paper starts out primarily from the assumption that the culture is a product of the economic and class reality. Once this assumption is accepted, the relation of culture with the material reality should be revealed. So the purpose of this paper is to examine the historical and social foundations of the patrimonial culture, the lasting traces of which can be seen in today’s social structure of Turkey. A descriptive method based on a literature review was adopted in this study


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