2021 Sakıp Sabancı International Research Award


In coping with Covid-19 pandemic, government policies in the world displayed considerable differences. While some governments implemented social distancing through emergency laws, others approached this as a matter of personal choice and ventured into persuading their citizens towards self-confinement, with mixed success. In the fight against the pandemic, the success of the government policies became increasingly dependent on the behavior of their citizens. Civic activism was curtailed along with the decline in the citizens’ ability to come together, organize and advocate. Nevertheless, new civil society actors and a novel type of civic activism emerged in attempts to provide essential services such as food and masks, stop the spread of incorrect and harmful information as well as protect the disadvantaged and marginalized groups.

What were the social psychological factors in understanding the impact of perceived threat of spreading Covid-19? Did the pandemic increase potentially maladaptive collective defensive behaviors, such as stigmatization, xenophobia, social isolation, fear of job loss, distrust toward health system and governments, as well as adaptive social behaviors, such as, social cohesion, creative collective actions, and altruism?

What were the factors behind the adoption of such different government policies and citizen behavior in the face of the pandemic? Did the pandemic trigger novel government policies and citizen behavior or rather lend more credence to the already existing tendencies and status quo? What were the impacts of societal underpinnings such as the prevalence of individual and/or collective life styles in different societies in addressing the pandemic? Can individual autonomy coexist alongside the collective needs of the societies facing the pandemic? How did the government and citizens in Turkey respond to the pandemic and how do these responses compare with their counterparts in other countries? Can responses to the pandemic enable us to cope better with other impending threats such as climate change?

Essays that address such questions and compare different contexts and historical periods are welcome.

About The Award

In 2005, Sabancı University decided to announce and administer an international award in order to encourage research on all aspects of Turkish culture, society and politics, and to uphold distinguished examples of fresh research with a view to engaging intellectual attention on Turkey’s role in the contemporary world. The “Sakıp Sabancı International Research Award” has been endowed in honor of the late Sakıp Sabancı, Honorary Chairman of Sabancı University’s Board of Trustees, and covers fields such as Turkish and Islamic Art and the History, Economy and Sociology of Turkey.

The Prizes

The Sakıp Sabancı International Research Award entails a Jury Prize for 25,000 USD. The Jury Prize will be awarded to an individual who has made distinguished contributions in this theme. An independent and international jury will select this Awardee. A series of awards will also be given to researchers under 45 years of age. This category includes 10.000 USD for each of three award-winning essays selected by the same jury panel from among submissions made for the competition.


Campus Address: Sabancı Üniversitesi Tuzla Kampüsü, Orta Mahalle, Üniversite Caddesi No:27 Tuzla, 34956 İstanbul / Turkey
Phone: (90 216) 483 90 00, Fax: (90 216) 483 90 45, E-mail: sabanciaward@sabanciuniv.edu