Cihan Tugal

Cihan Tugal

Social Sciences Building 488
Curriculum Vitae
Research Interests
Political sociology; Religion; Capitalism and development; Social movements; Islam and the Middle East; Social theory; Comparative and historical sociology; Ethnography

Cihan Tuğal studies social movements, populism, capitalism, democracy, and religion. In his recent publications, he discusses the far right, neoliberalization, state capitalism, and populist performativity in Turkey, the United States, Hungary, Poland, India, and the Philippines. (See his articles in  Journal of Right-Wing Studies, Contemporary PoliticsCritical Sociology, and Annual Review of Sociology). Tuğal is currently working on a book that will incorporate these case studies, along with an analysis of populism in Brazil. He has also initiated a team project to study the ecological crisis of capitalism, with special emphasis on the role of labor and community struggles in developing sustainable energy. 

Based on fieldwork in Egypt and Turkey as well as historical analysis, Tuğal’s previous book Caring for the Poor (2017, Routledge) examines the emergence, globalization, and decline of liberal welfare ethics. The book builds on a Maussian analysis of the gift, as well as Polanyian, Marxian, Bourdieusian, and Foucaultian theorizations of charity. Tuğal has published offshoots of his larger project on welfare ethics in the American Journal of Sociology, Qualitative Sociology, and Rethinking Marxism. His ongoing work explores ethical, religious, and spiritual alternatives to the rationalization and individualization of care and well-being.

Three articles on the global uprisings of 2009-2013 provide a snapshot of Tuğal’s work on capitalism and politics (see below: “Elusive Revolt”, "Decline of the Monopoly of Legitimate Violence," and “Resistance Everywhere”). Marketization, uneven growth, increasing ineffectiveness of American hegemony, and decimation of middle classes have undermined the (liberal-conservative) mainstream and incited revolt. As Tuğal’s collaborative work with De Leon and Desai emphasizes, political creativity (or lack thereof) thoroughly shapes what kind of a route societies take in response to such turbulence. For now, the American far right has scored (important but) restricted victories as a result of this global chaos (see below: "The Counter-Revolution’s Long March," as well as the shorter pieces in the Marxist Sociology Blog and New Politics). His earlier books unpacked similar processes in Turkey, Egypt, Iran, and Tunisia (Passive Revolution, Stanford University Press; and The Fall of the Turkish Model, Verso).

Tuğal has also written extensively in Turkish. His works in English have been translated to German, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Chinese, Swedish, Turkish, Romanian, and Ukrainian.

Representative Publications



Caring for the Poor

2017      Caring for the Poor: Islamic and Christian Benevolence in a Liberal World



(Translated to German and Turkish)




Edited Volumes


Journal Articles 



Book Chapters

  • 2017. “The Decline of the Monopoly of Legitimate Violence and the Return of Non-State Warriors.” Pp. 77–92 in The Transformation of Citizenship, Volume 3: Struggle, Resistance and Violence, edited by Juergen Mackert and Bryan S. Turner. London and New York: Routledge.
  • 2015 (with de Leon and Desai) “Political Articulation: The Structured Creativity of Parties.” Pp. 1-35 in Building Blocs: How Parties Organize Society, edited by Cedric de Leon, Manali Desai, and Cihan Tugal. Stanford: Stanford University Press
  • 2015    “Religious Politics, Hegemony, and the Market Economy: Parties in the Making of Turkey's Liberal-Conservative Bloc and Egypt's Diffuse Islamization,” in Building Blocs: How Parties Organize Society, Stanford University Press.
  • 2014    “Gülenism: The Middle Way or Official Ideology?” pp. 50-64 in Umut Özkırımlı (ed.) The Making of a Protest Movement in Turkey: #occupygezi, Palgrave.
  • 2013    “Conservatism, victorious: Islam and the retrenchment of the secular Turkish state,” pp. 109-133 in Asef Bayat (ed.) Post-Islamism at Large, Oxford University Press.
  • 2011    “The Islamic Making of a Capitalist Habitus: the Turkish Sub-Proletariat’s Turn to the Market,” Economic Sociology of Work 22: 85-11.
  • 2007 "Memories of Violence, Memoirs of Nation: 1915 and the Construction of Armenian Identity," in Esra Özyürek (ed.) Politics of Public Memory, Syracuse University Press.


Review Articles

  • 2023    "After populism?" New Left Review 144
  • 2017    “An unmoving wall or a shifting one? The American right's deep emotional politics and its emaciated counterpart.” The British Journal of Sociology 68/1: 137–142.
  • 2016. "Neoliberal populism as a contradictory articulation.” European Journal of Sociology 57/3: 466-470.
  • 2012 "Intermittent revolution: the road to a hybrid socialism, "Socio-Economic Review 10/2: 382-386
  • 2005 "State and Society in the Study of Islam: Discontents of a Dichotomy," New Perspectives on Turkey 31: 121-134.


                                                                                    Selected Essays and Interviews

2023    “From the Gezi Uprising to the 2023 Earthquake: Charting Turkey’s Ecological Destruction and Reconstruction,” Jadaliyya, April 7

2023    “Erdoğan’s Resilience,” Sidecar, May 31

2023    “Whatever Happens Next, Turkey is in Trouble,” New York Times, May 11

2022    “Ottoman Revival?Sidecar, October 14

2022    “Turkey Shows What NATO Really is,” New York Times, May 26

2022    “Putin’s Invasion: Imperialism after the epoch of Lenin and Wilson,” LeftEast, March 6, 2022

2021    “To achieve real political change, populism is necessary,” OpenDemocracy, October 15, 2021 (cross-posted in System Change Not Climate Change)

2021    “One World, in Flames, From California to Turkey,” Jadaliyya, September 10, 2021 (cross-posted in System Change Not Climate Change)

2021    “Can a Disoriented Storming of the Center Lead to Organizational Maturity?” New Politics (Print issue) Vol. XVIII No. 3, Whole Number 71

1/13/2021         “Fascism, Resistance, and the State: A Critique of Spectre’s Antifascist Strategy,” Spectre

1/11/2021        "The Invasion of Capitol Hill: Decaying Institutions, Rightwing Insurrection, and the Need for a Mass Movement," New Politics

10/27/2020      “Leninism without the working class? The missing subject in Malm’s ecological revolution,” (cross-posted in System Change Not Climate Change)

7/8/2020 “The Radical Right: Thriving and in Disarray,” Marxist Sociology Blog

9/25/2018        “Democratic Socialism beyond the New Deal,”

8/6/2016          “Turkish Totalitarianism: A Trendsetter rather than a Cultural Curiosity?” Global Dialogue (Newsletter for the International Sociological Association) Volume 6/Issue 3

7/23/2016 “Turkey’s Disaster,”

7/18/2016        “Turkey coup aftermath: between neo-fascism and Bonapartism,”

2/17/2016   "New Texts Out Now: Building Blocs: How Parties Organize Society," (A condensed presentation of our argument and a discussion of its practical, political significance.)

2/17/2016 “In Turkey, the regime slides from soft to hard totalitarianism,”

04/04/2015 “Those Who Want to Build, Those Who Want to Fight: The World Social Forum with a North African Twist,”

07/10/2013 “The End of the “Leaderless” Revolution: A Global Fallacy and the Military Intervention in Egypt,”

Published also in Berkeley Journal of Sociology 58: 83-87 (annual print issue)

06/11/2013 “Turkey: a Second 1848 … or 1905? The Cultural and Organizational Legacies From the Global Wave of 2011,” (Translated to Turkish)

06/04/2013 “Occupy Gezi: The Limits of Turkey’s Neoliberal Success,” (Translated to Turkish)

Published also in JadMag 1.4 Special print issue, "Resistance Everywhere": The Gezi Protests and Dissident Visions of Turkey, Edited by Anthony Alessandrini, Nazan Üstündağ, and Emrah Yildiz

what a evolution might look like
 Revolutionary Petrograd 1917
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