Cihan Tugal

Cihan Tugal

Curriculum Vitae
Research Interests
Political sociology; Social movements; Islam and the Middle East; Social theory; Religion; Culture; Global and transnational sociology; Economic sociology and development; Comparative and historical sociology

Cihan Tuğal studies three interlocking dynamics: 1) capitalism’s generation and destruction of communities, livelihoods, and places; 2) the implosion of representative democracy; 3) the crisis of liberal ethics. His ongoing research focuses on populism, the radical right, and neoliberalism in the United States and the Middle East. 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.

Tuğal’s most recent book, Caring for the Poor (2017, Routledge), examines the emergence, globalization, and decline of liberal ethics by focusing on charity, philanthropy, and welfare. 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 wellbeing.

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"). 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).

He has also written extensively in Turkish.

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 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 Essays

  • 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

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

11/21/2020      "The radical right after Trump," New Politics

10/27/2020      “Leninism without the working class? The missing subject in Malm’s ecological revolution,”

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