Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

From Little Brother to Gayrımeşhur: An Ethnographic Examination of the Role of Affects and Dispositions in the Formation of the Professional Criminal in Ankara, Turkey

Mercan, Boran Ali (2016) From Little Brother to Gayrımeşhur: An Ethnographic Examination of the Role of Affects and Dispositions in the Formation of the Professional Criminal in Ankara, Turkey. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.56804) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:56804)

Language: English

Restricted to Repository staff only
[thumbnail of 205PhD Dissertation - From Little Brother to Gayrimeshur.pdf]
Official URL:


This study examines notions of the professional criminal and career criminality in Turkey. Bourdieuian dispositional theory of action and Lacanian psychoanalytically-inflected discourse theory are together employed to understand and explain how one becomes, and continues to be, a professional criminal. The study presents the data from an offender-based ethnography in Ankara, the capital. The research pays special attention to the role of affects in the formation of criminal habitus, thus squarely placing the process of becoming a professional criminal within a process of symbolic identification with available criminal social types. The research reveals that the formation of bodily and mental criminal dispositions of younger, lower-class subaltern offenders can never be considered separately from the implication of their affective investments in the model-image of perceived gayrımeşhur [infamous criminal] 'big brothers' in the street. Moreover, it explains the appeal of a career in crime using the psychoanalytical notion of jouissance (enjoyment): the unconscious pleasure obtained from pursuing and enacting a criminal lifestyle. The unequal distribution of volume and structure of criminal capital among agents is argued to generate, particularly in the drug field, a strategic mutuality between perceived gayrımeşhur big brothers and younger generations who identify with the former. The affectively-constructed strategic proximity between generations transmits the understanding of crime as work from one generation to the next. The other finding of the study is that the modus operandi of professional burglary is put into practice within a structured division of labour in which each individual criminal capital is used collectively to overcome deterrents and effect the intended result: cash and jewellery. This research represents an original contribution to the literature of sociology and criminology by its theoretical neologism in explaining the formation of professional criminal subjectivity and its practice, and also by ethnographically exploring the patterns of crime and criminality in the socio-cultural context of Turkey.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.56804
Additional information: The author of this thesis has requested that it be held under closed access. We are sorry but we will not be able to give you access or pass on any requests for access. 22/11/2021
Uncontrolled keywords: Professional criminal, Affects, Identification, Criminal Habitus–Capital–Field, Enjoyment.
Subjects: H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2016 19:00 UTC
Last Modified: 22 Nov 2021 10:44 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Mercan, Boran Ali.

Creator's ORCID:
CReDIT Contributor Roles:
  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.