Staff profile

Dr Baris Cayli

Senior Research Fellow

Baris Cayli teaching




College of Business, Law and Social Sciences


Criminology and Social Sciences

Research centre

Social, Cultural and Legal Research Centre, Better Society




One Friar Gate Square, Derby Campus



I was trained and educated in Turkey, Netherlands, Italy, UK and the USA. I was an Impact Fellow at the University of Stirling in my previous employment. I held visiting academic posts at the Department of Sociology, University of Oxford and the School of Criminal Justice, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. I am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Member of the Council for the Defence of British Universities and Academics Stand Against Poverty. I am also Research Associate at the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR). I am Visiting Professor (2018-2019) at the Department of Culture and Society, University of Palermo. I am an interdisciplinary scholar and I am broadly interested in questioning the everyday life and exploring how the codes of ideal justice and sociocultural harmony promote peace and better life opportunities in plural societies, whereas other fragile societies embark upon a dreadful journey of social and cultural trauma in other parts of the world.

Teaching responsibilities

I oversee the Master of Research Programme in Social Sciences and Humanities. I am currently Module Leader for Research Philosophy and Methodology and Introduction to Research Methods modules. I am teaching the Sociology of Violence, Doing Grounded Theory, and Computer Programmes for Qualitative Data masterclasses. I contribute to the teaching of Doctoral programme in the College as well. 

I welcome PhD applications in the following areas:

Research interests

My research has been funded by a couple of prestigious fellowships. I received a research grant from Sos Impresa, which is a prominent civil society organisation founded in Palermo against organised crime. The University of Camerino has also recognised my research initiatives and its impact by giving Human Resource Excellence in Research Award in 2011. I received a research grant from the British Academy to conduct archival research for two years in the Ottoman and Italian archives.

I have an interdisciplinary research agenda that covers the sub-fields of sociology, anthropology, history, criminology, politics, law and philosophy.

Peer reviewer for the following journals

Membership of professional bodies

Canadian Political Science Association

American Sociological Association

European Sociological Association

European Association for Social Anthropologists

Research Associate at the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice (2015 - ongoing)

Affiliated Researcher at RUSI 

TSAS, Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society (Senior Research Affiliate)

Royal Society of Arts (Fellow)

Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) (Member)

ECPR - Standing Group on Organised Crime (Steering Committee Member)

Academics Stand against Poverty (Member)

Council for the Defence of British Universities (Member)



International experience

Additional interests and activities

My second research line aims to clarify the causes of social and cultural opposition. The unexpected social, political and cultural changes emerge as the driving forces of social turmoil in different societies. My research focuses on the culture of opposition as the principal concept while exploring the process of oppression and its enduring outcomes. The development of new global markets, the prevalence of neo-capitalism, advances in transportation and communication, foundation of new political regimes and the quest of social, political and cultural rights have created and transformed the culture of opposition throughout modern history. Exploring diverse features of crime, resistance, public panic, political and socio-cultural changes. My research aims to scrutinise how a local and global reaction of the oppression expresses its grievances and resonates its characteristic formations through a set of symbols and rituals in social, political and cultural life.

Recent publications


Reviews Based on ARCs

"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

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

"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." San Francisco Book Review

“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.” A. Ezel Kural Shaw, co-author of The History of Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey
"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

“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



This is my current book project. 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, defeats against the criminalised order, and courageous examples of rebellion 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.


Special Issues

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

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)


Long peer-reviewed journal articles

Book chapters

Research reports, op-eds, and book reviews