My research focuses on how communities and individuals respond to crises, ranging from different forms of armed conflict to state collapse.
What are the alternatives to state authority in post-conflict contexts, when and why are they used instead or alongside the state, and with what implications for governance? My dissertation, “Reconfiguration of Sub-National Governance: Responses to Violence and State Collapse in the North Caucasus,” explains the heterogeneous effects of armed conflict on sub-national governance. While acknowledging the role of inherited institutions, my multimethod investigation shows how they were strategically transformed during the breakup of the Soviet Union, creating unintended consequences and the basis for governance today.
I investigate how different types of armed conflict shape both demand and supply sides of governance. Examining the demand-side, I show that different patterns of violence impact civilian preferences, shaping who residents turn to for which domains of governance. Looking at the top-down processes, I demonstrate that armed conflict also alters the relationships between state, religious, and customary authorities, complicating state/nonstate distinctions and impacting the range of governance alternatives available.
I show that despite historical and structural similarities, armed conflicts in the 1990s set the republics down divergent governance trajectories: centralized (Chechnya), polycentric (Dagestan), and mediated (Ingushetia). Disaggregating governance to compare goods provision, dispute resolution, and symbolic practices alongside conventionally-studied governance dimensions like extraction and coercion also reveals that while state institutions regulate coercion and extraction, communities exhibit significant variation in how they regulate disputes, provide public welfare goods, and enforce social order.
My research draws on nine months of fieldwork in the North Caucasus, where I conducted interviews, gathered local newspapers, and collected original survey data.
Post-Conflict Governance: A Framework and Evidence from the North Caucasus (under review)
Beyond Support and Resistance: Civilian Strategies Amidst Conflict in Post-Soviet Chechnya
Governance under Polycentric Rule: Goods Provision, Dispute Resolution, and Symbolic Practices in Dagestan
Localized Order: Responses to Violent State Collapse in Chechnya
Transnational Combatant Impact on Wartime Order