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 brings non-state governance into the research on post-conflict state-building to theorize and empirically measure who controls which governance domains after different types of armed conflict. I demonstrate that violence has heterogeneous effects across local governance institutions. Additionally, when violence is sufficiently widespread and occurs before the institutionalization of elite bargains, it can not only alter village-level outcomes, but shift macro-level governance trajectories as well.

My research draws on nine months of fieldwork from the North Caucasus, where I conducted interviews, gathered local newspapers, and collected original survey data. While acknowledging the role of inherited institutions, my multimethod investigation shows how they were strategically transformed during the breakup of the Soviet Union, creating both unintended consequences and the basis for sub-national governance today. This provides more general insights into processes of rebuilding authority after the collapse of previously entrenched regimes, highlighting the asymmetric power that state elites have in an authoritarian regime while also locating the agency of religious, customary, and business authorities as well as regular civilians.

Working Papers

Chechnya Mountains

Post-Conflict Governance: A Framework and Evidence from the North Caucasus

Localized Order: Responses to Violent State Collapse in Chechnya

Beyond Support and Resistance: Civilian Strategies Amidst Conflict in Post-Soviet Chechnya

Patterns of Violence: Disaggregating the Impact of Exposure to Violence

Fieldwork as Experience of Authority and State Capacity

Transnational Combatant Impact on Wartime Order