Baris Cayli. Violence and Militants: From Ottoman Rebellions to Jihadist Organizations. (Montreal, Kingston, London, Chicago: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2019)
Reviewed in: Canadian Journal of Political Science, Kirkus Reviews, US Reviews, San Fransisco Book Reviews.

The first comprehensive analysis of the use of violence by militant groups across time and space

How do militants rationalize violence and what are their motives? How do time and space shape their destiny?In Violence and Militants Baris Cayli explores these enduring questions by comparing violent episodes in towns and villages in the nineteenth-century Ottoman Balkans with today's zones of conflict from Afghanistan to the Middle East.

Placing history alongside the troubles of the present, Violence and Militants reveals parallels between Christian militants who rebelled against the Ottoman Empire and four jihadist organizations of today: Hezbollah, Hamas, al-Qaeda, and Isis. Drawing on scholarship by political theorists, historians, sociologists, anthropologists, and philosophers, Cayli traces the root of dissent to a perceived deprivation that leads to aggressive protest and action. He argues that the rationalization of violence functions independently of time and geographical location. Through a riveting narrative, this book uncovers how militant groups use revenge, ideals, and confrontation to generate fear and terror in the name of justice. 

Breaking new ground, Violence and Militants is the first book to address this complex relationship across different periods of history.

Baris Cayli Messina. The Sicilian Rebellion: Fighting the Mafia Everyday. (In progress)













This book project is based on my ethnographic research in Sicily. I would like to explore how Sicilian people, politicians, artists, local journalists, activists, civil society organisations, digital media, cultural and bureaucratic institutions develop policies to fight the Mafia and mafiosi culture. This book project aims to uncover the hope, fear, and unyielding resistance of Sicilians who have witnessed violence, bloodshed, and injustice for so long. Their experience of cultural trauma and their long struggle against the Mafia carry a universal meaning and share a common ground with other people who strive for a positive change in traumatic social geographies across the world.


I aim to take the reader on a historical and contemporary journey through exploring glorious cultural elements of Sicily, its dysfunctional political system, state violence, defeats against the criminalised order, and courageous examples of rebellion and collective action to defy the Mafia. Thanks to these rebellious attempts, many mafiosi lost their traditional authority and notorious power. Yet the Mafia is still strong and there are still uncovered factors to explain how different actors struggle to destroy the Mafia in the contested political, social, legal, and cultural landscape of Sicily. This project endeavours to unveil these factors and, in doing so, enlighten the universal codes of human resistance when societal shifts leave their mark on troubled territories and collective memory dramatically.


Baris Cayli Messina (Guest Editor) (2021) "Bandits, Brigands, and Militants: The Historical Sociology of Outlaws" Journal of Historical Sociology  (Forthcoming)
Baris Cayli Messina (Guest Editor) (2020) "The Cultural Anthropology of Protest against the Perceived Injustice" Anthropological Notebooks  (Forthcoming)


Baris Cayli Messina (Guest Editor) (2021) "Mafia and the Sack of Cities: The Urban History of Criminalisation and Social Decay" Urban History (Forthcoming)