Cihan Tugal works on mobilization, socioeconomic change, and the role of religion in sociopolitical projects. His most recent book is The Fall of the Turkish Model: How the Arab Uprisings Brought Down Islamic Liberalism
Tugal’s first book, as well as a couple of his articles, is based on a two-phase ethnography of a poor and conservative district in Istanbul. He has taught in this district, and participated in its religious and political life. Situating the ethnography within the development of capitalism in Turkey, he demonstrates how Islamic movements have mobilized the poor and marginal intellectuals to later integrate them to secular, market-oriented politics. This is a process of passive revolution, whereby previously oppositional networks are absorbed into existing power structures.