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Annales islamologiques 46
2013 IFAO
20 p.
gratuit - free of charge
The Agricultural Dimension of Imperial-Peasant Relations in Mamluk Jordan

Far from the urban centers of military and political power, the Mamluk state maintained an unpredictable relationship with local peoples and attempted to exercise power over them in a way that could best be described as “managerial”. In many ways land was the key to the ever-changing power relations within the Mamluk elite and with local society. The complexities of these relationships are illustrated well in the case of the Transjordan, which comprised the eastern frontier.

This paper is concerned with two related phenomena. The first is the centrality of land in Mamluk policies in the Transjordan and the regime’s relations with local peoples. The second addresses the “decline” of the Mamluk state from the perspective of developments in the local agricultural regime, changing relations between producers and the state, and migrations of populations in Jordan, which were driven, in part, by regional political conflict and economic necessity. Adopting an Annaliste perspective on imbedded cycles of change, the rural sphere is interrogated as the locus of contestation and collaboration between ruler and ruled and provides a backdrop for assessing the transformations of the final century of Mamluk rule.

Keywords: mamluk – village life – iqṭāʿāt – agriculture – climate change – drought – Jordan – rural administration.