Dr Baris Cayli Messina

I am a social and cultural critic and a feminist because of moral and practical necessity. I am Senior Researcher at the University of Derby in the UK. I had Visiting Professorship and Fellowship positions at the University of Palermo, LUMSA University, University of Oxford, and Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. I am also Senior Research Affiliate at the TSAS, Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society and RUSI. You will find my research interests, teaching, publications and my current works by visiting the related pages of this personal website. My blog page covers current social, political and cultural issues. You can also view the photos that I took in the  Photography section.


From Ottoman Rebellions to Jihadist Organizations

(Kingston & Ontorio, London, Chicago: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2019)

You can visit the webpage of the book by clicking here

Marble Surface




‘A serious-minded and sophisticated treatment of a controversial and significant subject’

Richard English, Queen's University Belfast, author of Does Terrorism Work? A History

"An in-depth look at a complicated topic, Violence and Militants examines the history of destabilizing groups in the Middle East from revolts against the Ottoman Empire to ISIS. Anyone seeking to better understand the state of affairs in the Middle East would be well advised to read this"

Jo Neiderhoff, San Francisco Book Review

"Violence and Militants offers the reader an exciting journey to unveil the ravages of catastrophe" 
Jeffrey Ian Ross, University of Baltimore, author of Political Terrorism: An Interdisciplinary approach

“Violence and Militants is an insightful analysis focused on a key question: How do violent organizations and groups justify their use of violence in different times and places? In this empirically rich study Baris Cayli explores how structural and cultural violence operate in premodern and contemporary social contexts. Homing in on the behaviour of rebels and state authorities in the Ottoman world as well as violent organizations of today, this book offers a novel interpretation of the social processes involved in the rationalization and use of violence.”

Siniša Maleševic,  University College Dublin, author of  The Rise of Organised Brutality

"This thought-provoking and comprehensive discussion will likely prove influential in foreign policy and both domestic and international security concerns for decades to come."

Kate Robinson, US Review of Books

“Cayli’s analytical, comparative, and moderate approach invites readers to engage in an intellectual dialogue over group manifestations of violence, rationalized in the name of ideological goals. The points raised are thought-provoking – not entertainment or distraction. Questions asked as well as answered generate new inquiries and new insights in this book.” 

Ezel Kural Shaw, co-author of

The History of Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey

“Baris Cayli’s approach through the prism of cultural and structural violence brings the kind of comparative study that I haven’t seen anywhere else."

Christophe Chowanietz, John Abbott College, author of Bombs, Bullets, and Politicians


“The great strength of Violence and Militants is the way in which it utilizes the concepts of both cultural and structural violence and applies them to different instances of violence committed by militant groups across time and space.”

Monica Ingber, York University author of The Politics of Conflict

Media/review copy requests:


Jacqui Davis, Publicist 


Tel: 514-398-2555





Mafia organisations engaged illegal activities, destroyed the urban environment, dominated the construction sector, and extorted money from shopkeepers. This formidable amalgam of urban crimes created by different mafia groups across the world plundered different cities dramatically, changed architectural landscape, increased inequality gap, threatened powerless groups, violated fundamental human rights, and fostered a culture of lawlessness. We cannot think of the mafia independent from other factors such as rapid urbanisation, globalising capitalism, corruption, and limited social mobility of people living in the peripheries of cities. Providing a number of cases in the urban history of mafia expansion, I contend that all these factors enabled mafia organisations to sack cities and shape severely everyday life of people. This study demonstrates that the sack of cities by different mafia groups reveals the enormous network of state and non-state forces in which  we can expose the complexity of political-criminal nexus and uncover the strategically connected hidden social networks by following the activities and contacts of mafia groups in cities.


Cayli, B. (2021). "Mafia and the Sack of Cities: The Urban History of Criminalisation and Social Decay" Urban History (Forthcoming)



Cultural activities in a social setting offer us a common ground to conceive complex power dynamics. Culture has been a place of escape throughout history for dissident people who were oppressed and marginalized by a social system that created injustice for them. The cultural anthropology of protest against the perceived injustice exposes powerful actors who create injustice and uncovers how people demonstrate their reactions to injustice through different instruments in the cultural spectrum. The types of injustice and furious reaction to it can be found in films, caricatures, mimics, symbols, architecture, walking, photographs, and other cultural venues and materials enabling the protest. The identification of agencies producing injustice from the point view of vulnerable people clarifies the dilemmas of a formidable confrontation in a contested social place. The articles in this special issue show that this confrontation also needs to be revisited by centralising people who are subject to injustice which shapes different cultural forms at the same time. The cultural forms examined in this special issue indicate that the powerful authorities are not indestructible, and the layers of resistance delineate the roots of injustice and complex patterns of social transformation.


Cayli, B., (2020). "The Cultural Anthropology of Protest against Perceived Injustice: Introduction to the Special Issue" Anthropological Notebooks 26(1); 1-12.