My research focuses on how communities and individuals respond to crises, ranging from different forms of armed conflict to rapid institutional changes.
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 Governance: Responses to Violence and State Collapse in the North Caucasus,” explains the heterogeneous effects of 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.
My main argument is that divergent patterns of violence changed relationships between state, religious, and customary authorities, altering which domains became the purview of state control and which remained governed by non-state authorities. Comparing goods provision, dispute resolution, and symbolic practices alongside conventionally-studied governance dimensions like coercion and extraction reveals that communities consistently rely on state institutions for coercion and extraction but exhibit significant variation in how they regulate disputes, provide public welfare goods, and enforce social order. Tracing the interaction between government policies and civilian demands, I identify three governance trajectories: centralized (Chechnya), polycentric (Dagestan), and mediated (Ingushetia). 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
Localized Order: Responses to Violent State Collapse in 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