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Dr Baris Cayli Messina

Welcome to my personal website!

I am a British-Italian-Turkish scholar. I would define myself as a social and cultural critic as well as a feminist scholar based on my moral principles and the need to create a just and peaceful society in which all forms of systemic inequality need to be eradicated. My pronouns are he/him/his.

I am Associate Professor of Criminology at the University of Lincoln. I am Book Series Editor of Temple Studies in Criminalization, History, and Society which is published by Temple University Press. I am Editor-in-Chief of International Social Science Journal (Wiley). I held Visiting Professor and Fellowship positions at the University of Palermo, LUMSA University, the University of Oxford, and Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. I am Senior Research Affiliate of the TSAS, the Canadian Network for Terrorism, Security, and Society, and RUSI.


I am very happily married to Gioacchino Messina.


This personal website is intended to provide information about my works. To learn more about my research, teaching interests, publications, and current projects, please visit the related pages of this website. My media and public scholarship page and blog page contain posts, submission calls, and my views on current social, political, and cultural issues.


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What is the role of civic norms for social change after traumatic events, and how do those norms shape collective resistance? The present study seeks to address this urgent query by examining Sicilians' culture war against the mafia. Based on rigorous ethnographic research over a period of 7 years (2016–2023), an extensive database was created, which included 77 commemorative events, a guided city tour, 54 interviews with antimafia activists, and 89 audio–visual recordings totaling 1768 min. I introduce two analytical concepts, “informative rituals” and “transmissive rituals,” that offer a new perspective on how activists leverage the civic norms of social bonds to realize their objectives. I argue that shifting civic norms in a post-traumatic society is not only driven by collective resistance but also requires significant time in the presence of an oppressive force. This study proposes that, for a socially traumatized community attempting to shift civic norms, prolonged and strenuous endeavors are required in order to thoroughly permeate those norms among the general public. The findings demonstrate that the consolidation of civic norms within post-traumatic societies is highly contingent upon its temporal context and sustainability, which explains why culture wars frequently necessitate a long-term communal investment.

Cayli Messina, B. (2024) "Why temporality matters in collective resistance: Shifting civic norms in a post-traumatic society" Sociological Forum 39(2): 201-2015


How have crime, conflict, and violence shaped the social structure of neighborhoods across diverse spatial and temporal landscapes in marginalised urban communities? To address to this central question, this study examines the socio-political dynamics of New York City and Palermo, as well as the role of authoritarian actors, by juxtaposing different historical periods and contrasting the influences of political institutions with extra-legal entities such as gangs and mafias. Utilising visual images, archival documents, and geographical mapping, the study introduces the concept of "justice-based power vacuums." This theoretical concept elucidates the mechanisms through which coercive power fosters social environments susceptible to extra-legal domination, effectively entrapping vulnerable groups, be they ethnic or racial minorities or economically disadvantaged groups. I argue that while crime and violence, especially under the auspices of gangs and mafias, often become the focal point, it is the obscured role of political authorities that stands as the genesis of such complex social problems. The present comparative historical social research indicates that recognizing and addressing these obscured political influences is essential for a holistic understanding and subsequent mitigation of the structural challenges in urban social life that create deprived neighborhoods across time and space and perpetuate marginalization in these communities.

Cayli Messina, B. (2024) "Crime and Violence on the Margins of Society: How Justice-Based Power Vacuums Create Deprived Neighborhoods" Sociology Compass 18(3): 1-24. e13194 


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