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From the Indian Ocean to the MediterraneanThe Global Trade Networks of Armenian Merchants from New Julfa$
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Sebouh DavidAslanian

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520266872

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520266872.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 22 September 2021

Trust, Social Capital, and Networks: Informal and Semiformal Institutions at Work

Trust, Social Capital, and Networks: Informal and Semiformal Institutions at Work

(p.166) 7 Trust, Social Capital, and Networks: Informal and Semiformal Institutions at Work
From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean

Sebouh David Aslanian

University of California Press

This chapter focuses on “trust” and cooperation in the Julfan trade network. It argues that the tendency to take “trust” in early modern merchant communities for granted, despite its central role in the lives of such communities, is one of the hallmarks of the trade diaspora paradigm. It considers trust as a commodity created by merchants largely through rigorous monitoring of merchant behavior, rewarding individuals upholding high ethical standards, and sanctioning those who break codes of honor and betray their fellow merchants. To explain the creation of “trust” and cooperation, this chapter relies on theoretical literature in economic sociology known as “social capital theory.” It investigates the creation and maintenance of “trust” in the Julfan network using a model that places emphasis on a centralized and centralizing semiformal legal institution in Julfa known as the Assembly of Merchants and to a lesser degree, the church and its network of priests. It embeds information flows within a detailed study of merchant correspondence and courier networks, which were vital to the proper functioning of the Julfan network.

Keywords:   Julfan, trade network, trust, cooperation, merchants, trade diaspora, social capital theory, Assembly of Merchants, church, priests

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