My research focuses on how individuals and communities respond to crises, ranging from state collapse to different forms of armed conflict. Relatedly, I investigate how armed conflict impacts governance in the post-conflict period. My research draws on fieldwork in the North Caucasus, where I conducted interviews, trained and coordinated teams of local enumerators to collect original survey data, and analyzed local newspapers. I pair this original data with locally and externally archived oral histories, NGO accounts, and secondary data on violence.
What are the alternatives to the state after armed conflict, and when do citizens encounter and rely on them instead of, or alongside, state authorities? My book project, “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 trace how armed conflict alters the relationships between state, religious, and customary authorities, complicating state/nonstate distinctions and impacting the range of governance alternatives available to citizens.
The investigation reveals that despite historical and structural similarities, armed conflicts in the 1990s set neighboring republics down divergent governance trajectories: centralized (Chechnya), polycentric (Dagestan), and mediated (Ingushetia). Disaggregating the organization and logic of 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.
Beyond Support and Resistance: Civilian Strategies Amidst Conflict in Post-Soviet Chechnya (under review)
Post-Conflict Governance: A Framework and Evidence from the North Caucasus
Uneven Orders and Selective Adaptation: Non-State Responses to State Collapse in Chechnya
Legacies of Criminal Violence in Dagestan: Formation and Consequences of Selective Incorporation
Transnational Combatant Impact on Wartime Order