Baris Cayli. Violence and Militants: From Ottoman Rebellions to Jihadist Organizations. (Montreal, Kingston, London, Chicago: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2019)

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

This is my current book project. I have been working on this project for 10 years. It 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.
Edited Collections
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)


Peer-Reviewed Long Journal Articles
(Please click the title of article to download and the journal name to be directed to the journal's official publication page)

Cayli B (2016) "Performance Matters More Than Masculinity: Violence, Gender Dynamics and Mafia Women" Aggression and Violent Behavior, 29: 36-42.

Cayli B (2016) "Codes of Commitment to Crime and Resistance: Determining Social and Cultural Factors over the Behaviors of Italian Mafia Women" Deviant Behavior, 37(1): 1-15.

Cayli B (2015) "The Ravages of Social Catastrophe: Striving for the Quest of 'Another World'Philosophy & Social Criticism, 41(9): 963-980.

Cayli B (2014) "Renewing Criminalized and Hegemonic Cultural Landscapes" Critical Criminology, 22(4): 579-593.

Cayli B (2013) "Using Sports against the Italian Mafia: Policies and Challenges on the Path of Cultural Renewal" Sociology of Sport Journal, 30(4): 435-466.

Cayli B (2013) "Creating Counterpublics against the Italian Mafia: Cultural Conquerors of Web-Based Media" Javnost-the Public, 20(3): 59-76.

Cayli B (2013) "Italian civil society against the Mafia: From perceptions to expectations" International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice, 41(1): 81-99.

Cayli B (2012) "Resistance against the Mafia: A Civic Struggle to Defy an Uncontestable Power" Anthropological Journal of European Cultures, 21(1):103-125.

Cayli B (2012) "The Impossible Mission: Global Justice Movement against Transnational Organized Crime" New Global Studies, 6(1):1-23

Cayli B (2011) "Anti-Mafia Policies in Italy: The Need for Collaborative Governance and Transition of the Policy Actors from Isolation to Coalition" European Journal of Crime Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, 19(1): 15-36.

Cayli B (2010) "Social Networks of the Italian Mafia: The Strong and Weak Parts" CEU Political Science Journal, 5(3): 382-413.


Book Sections

Cayli, B. (2017) “When a Journalist defies more than the mafia: The legacy of Giuseppe Fava and Italian Antimafia Culture”  ed. R. Pickering-Iazzi, in The Italian Antimafia, New Media and the Culture of Legality. Toronto:University of Toronto Press.

Cayli, Baris."The Relationship between Power and Perception of Identity: The Case of the Italian Mafioso", in Identity and Identification, eds A.Mateos-Aparicio et. al.. pp. 25-37. (Castilla-La Mancha: Ediciones de la Universidad, 2017)



Cayli, B. (2014) "Global South/Global North" in Cousins, Linwood H. and Golson, J. Geoffrey, (eds.) Encyclopedia of Human Services and Diversity. Thousands Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, pp. 590-592.



Cayli, B. (2014) "The Role of Cultural Capital" in Cousins, Linwood H. and Golson, J. Geoffrey, (eds.) Encyclopedia of Human Services and Diversity. Thousands Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, pp. 301-302.

Cayli, B. (2011) ‘Anti-Mafia Movement and the Introduction of a New Phrase’ in International Relations, Culture and Finance, ed. A. Kalaitzidis. Athens: Atiner, pp. 229- 238.


Cayli, B. (2011) ‘Italian Mafia in the Spectrum of Culture and Politics’ in Cultural and Ethical Turns: Interdisciplinary Reflections on Culture, Politics and Ethics, eds. B. Garner Oxford: Interdisciplinary Press. pp. 51-59.


Research Reports, Book Reviews, and Public Scholarship

Cayli, B. (2019) Review of “Mafia Organizations. The Visible Hand of Criminal Enterprise” by Maurizio Catino (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019). Criminal Law & Criminal Justice Book Reviews.

Cayli, B. (2019) Review of “How Violence Shapes Religion” by Ziya Meral (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018). LSE Review of Books.


Cayli, B. (2019) "Body-Worn Cameras: A Litmus Test for the Democratic Habitus of Policing" Discover Society

Cayli, B. (2018) Review of "The Invisibe Camorra: Neapolitan Crime Families across Europe" by Felia Allum. (Cornell University Press, 2016). International Sociology 33(5): 583-586.

Nunn,  A., Cayli, B.,  Dodsley, T., Hargreaves, C (2018) "Effectiveness of MFC Services to Reduce School Exclusion among Young People from the Roma Community in Derby", Derby: Multi-Faith Centre.

Cayli, B. (2018) A Generational Fight: Teaching Young Italians to Defy the Mafia. RUSI

Cayli, B. (2017) Review of "Mafia Life: Love, Death and Money at the Heart of Organised Crime" by Federico Varese. (Profile Books, 2017), LSE Review of Books. Click here to read the article.