Stockholm university

Paul LevinDirector

About me

Dr. Levin has published works on international relations and public administration. He is the author of Turkey and the European Union: Christian and Secular Images of Islam (2011) and the co-editor of Migration from Sweden to Turkey (2017 with Bahar Baser) and Interdisciplinarity and Comparison in Turkish Studies (2014 with Sinan Ciddi).

Paul T Levin has been the director of SUITS (Stockholm University Institute for Turkish Studies) since its inception in 2013. During his tenure he has led SUITS to become one of the leading centres for research on Turkey and fostered the development of young scholars, not least through his work as director of CEST, the Consortium for European Symposia on Turkey.

Before assuming his current position, Dr. Levin served as Program Director for Governance and Management Training and taught International Relations at the Department of Economic History, both at Stockholm University. A recurring guest lecturer at Oxford University’s Programmes in Leadership and Public Policy, Dr. Levin has given invited lectures in Turkey, China, the USA, Iran, Poland and elsewhere.

He received his Ph.D. from the School of International Relations at the University of Southern California in 2007, after earning an M.A. in Political Science also at USC.


The Turkish Veto: Why Erdogan Is Blocking Finland and Sweden’s Path to NATO, FPRI Analysis, Foreign Policy Research Institute (2023)

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A selection from Stockholm University publication database

  • Reflections on Serif Mardin's center-periphery thesis

    2023. Paul T. Levin. Turkish Studies 24 (3-4), 617-639


    It would be an understatement to say that Şerif Mardin’s center-periphery thesis (CPT) has been influential on contemporary understandings of Turkey. This essay reflects on the impact of the CPT, considers the challenges from both critics and a changing empirical reality, and discusses whether it still has something to offer us today. It argues that some of the criticisms levied at Mardin’s thesis are based on a misunderstanding of the role of simplification in social science, while others point to important shortcomings of the theory without presenting an alternative framework. However, the article suggests that the anomalies in the CPT have by now amassed to the point that it no longer serves as a meaningful approximation of key dynamics in Turkish politics, primarily because it fails to capture the importance of the Kurdish issue and the consolidation of the ruling AKP at the center. 

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  • The Turkish Veto: Why Erdogan Is Blocking Finland and Sweden’s Path to NATO

    2023. Paul T. Levin.


    Turkey threatens to continue blocking Sweden’s application to join NATO unless the Scandinavian country gets tough on terrorism (i.e., crack down on Kurdish groups operating in the country) and stops Koran burnings. Given Sweden’s robust freedom of speech protections, there is little more Stockholm can do but to continue implementing the deal with Ankara negotiated last June. That can take time and is not guaranteed to convince President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to soften his position on NATO enlargement, especially in an election year. Finland is now preparing legislation that would allow it to join NATO on its own, essentially leaving up to Turkey and Hungary whether to treat the Swedish and Finnish applications together or not.While mindful of not interfering in the next Turkish elections, the United States and other allies should work with Ankara to provide incentives to ratify enlargement to Sweden and disincentives to act in ways that benefit Russia. Earthquake relief should be generous and unconditional.

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  • Social coexistence and violence during Turkey's authoritarian transition

    2021. Imren Borsuk, Paul T. Levin. Journal of Southeast European and Black Sea Studies 21 (2), 175-187


    The recent authoritarian turn and democratic backsliding around the world have raised concerns over increased instability and violent conflicts. Turkey is a striking example of this authoritarian turn with the transition from a multiparty democracy to a competitive authoritarian regime. With seven in-depth case studies from Turkey, this special issue sheds light upon the changing dynamics of violence and social coexistence in countries that experience democratic decline from a transdisciplinary perspective. In this introductory article, we briefly trace the authoritarian transition and societal fault lines in Turkey, discuss the case studies presented in this special issue, and draw out our contribution to the literature.

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  • Turkey and the European Union

    2011. Paul T. Levin.


    A critical examination of the origins of today’s anti-Islamic rhetoric in Europe, this book focuses specifically on representations of Turkey. Applying a novel theoretical framework that understands collective identities as dramaturgical achievements, it shows that stereotypes of Turks continue to provide an important “Other” against which a supposed European “Self” is contrasted. The book identifies two competing meta-narratives that have long vied for the right to define Christendom and later Europe, and argues that the struggle over these narratives--one tragic, the other comic--have come to a head in Turkey’s current bid for EU membership.

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  • The Swedish Model of Public Administration

    2010. Paul T. Levin. Journal of Administration and Governance 4 (1), 38-46


    In recent years, the so-called “Swedish Model” has received a great deal of attention in Asia. In this context, it is interesting to consider whether there is such a thing as a recognizable Swedish model, not the least when it comes to public administration. This article investigates Swedish structures of public administration with this aim, finding three characteristics that, in combination, distinguish it from most other systems. It argues that Swedish public administration is characterized by a high degree of openness and accountability, a higher degree of autonomy for civil servants than can be found almost anywhere else, and a far-reaching decentralization of political authority to regions and municipalities, the scope of which is unusual in unitary states. While not constituting an exhaustive depiction of Swedish public administration, these three features together arguably define a distinctive Swedish model of public administration.

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  • [Swedish Public Administrations]

    2008. Paul T Levin. [Journal of public administration] 1 (6)


    This paper provides an overview of the Swedish political and public administrative system on local,regional and national levels with special reference to the impacts of EU on public administration in Sweden.It examines principles,structure and operation of the Swedish public administration,of which the experience of NPM reform is highlighted.The relationships between state and citizens,politicians and servants,and central and local governments are identified as three distinguishing characteristics of the Swedish public administration.

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