My research is located at the intersection of development sociology and conflict studies. I have a particular interest in issues of ordering, governance and state formation in conflict and disaster ‐ affected settings. Key questions I ask are how ‐ during conflicts/disasters and their aftermath ‐ institutional arrangements and governance modalities and practices change, how these changes are negotiated/contested and what are the implications of these changes for patterns of in ‐ and exclusion. I adopt a practice perspective on governance, relying on notions of institutional multiplicity, everyday forms of state formation, and everyday politics of crisis and recovery. Recent and current research focusses on local governance and land governance, in (post‐) conflict settings. I am interested to develop research on governance challenges around multiple insecurities in rapidly urbanising settings.
Themes for thesis research
I am interested to supervise thesis in the broad domain of conflict, post ‐ conflict and post ‐ disaster reconstruction and governance. I particularly welcome thesis research that connects to my core themes of research:
Institutional multiplicity and (local) government in conflict ‐ affected settings
I work with the broader idea of ‘re‐ordering processes’ around conflict and crisis, which centres on the rather intense governance change and re ‐ ordering that takes place during and after crisis (conflict as well as disaster). This includes an interest in emerging forms of governance, and the roles of local forms of social organising (including ‘rebel governance’) and attempts at ‘institutional engineering’ by third parties (donors, NGOs, post ‐ conflict states). I understand governance as a key dimension in conflict and post ‐ conflict re ‐ ordering and a window on the ‘post ‐ conflict moment’.
Topics can include: Decentralisation in post ‐ conflict settings; parallel governance; institutional multiplicity; basic service provision; state formation in conflict ‐ affected settings.
Land governance in conflict affected settings.
Conflict and post ‐ conflict/post ‐ disaster reconstruction pose particularly complex challenges in terms of governance of land conflict, competing claims, and fragile institutions. Land governance often undergoes intense change in the post ‐ conflict setting. My approach to land governance is similar to my approach to local governance, and works with concepts of reordering, institutional multiplicity/legal pluralism, shifting notions of authority and legitimacy, but also includes political ecology (violence and claim making, shifting frontiers of land control).
Topics can include: Land conflict and land tenure security in conflict ‐ affected settings; post ‐ conflict land governance reforms; land grabbing; mining; gendered land access.
Urban insecurities and governance in fragile settings: ‘Governing hazardous cities’.
This is an emerging theme in which I would like to invest in the coming years. Urban settings combine a range of insecurities especially for the poorer inhabitants, who suffer from precarious livelihoods, everyday violence, natural hazards (such as floods and mud slides), and political exclusion. What type of arrangements and governance relations develop around people’s efforts to meet these insecurities, and with what implications? Urban governance in fragile settings presents an interesting context to study state formation, institutional multiplicity, bottom ‐ up security arrangements and transforming patronage systems.
Topics can include : local experiences of and responses to insecurities related to disaster/violence in urban settings; governance initiatives to manage or mitigate insecurities in these settings; evolving governance relations.
In addition, depending on the project, I invite students to bring in theories on conflict transformation, collective action, gender, ethnicity, political ecology, the negotiation/social construction of aid interventions (eg reconstruction), or resilience.