My research focuses on political and security issues, and, at core, I am interested to understand who benefits from specific security arrangements and policies and enduring conflicts. I approach this question from a "social conflict" perspective, rooted in Gramscian traditions of critical political economy. Also known as the 'Murdoch School', the social conflict approach focuses on struggles over power and resources between socio-political forces inherent in capitalist development to explain institutional and political outcomes. My methodology pairs methods from historical sociology and ethnography.
Throughout my career, I have researched issues related to security sector reform, plural policing, the securitisation of migrants, the politics of international peace-building and state-building interventions, internal dynamics of rebel groups, and conflict/post-conflict trends in several contexts.
My current research develops along three interrelated streams:
- The political economy of plural policing. I am engaged in a book project to explain how political economy and plural policing affect each other. New Zealand is the case study for this project. As part of this project, I am also looking at the plural policing of anti-money laundering and countering terrorism financing.
- The political economy of irregular migration governance. I am interested in the relationship between neoliberalism and coercive approaches to irregular migration governance, such as externalisation. In particular, I seek to explain how offshore processing arrangements affect governance structures in both sponsoring countries, such as Australia and the European Union, and transit or holding countries, such as Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Lybia and Turkey, and what social and political forces benefit from these arrangements.
- The political economy of counterterrorism. I am interested in how different state formation trajectories affect counterterrorism approaches. Australia and Indonesia are the case studies for this project.
I am happy to consider collaborations for comparative studies with scholars in Europe, Africa and Latin America.
I am a political economist interested in the intersection of security/insecurity, security governance, and development. I work as a Senior Researcher at the University of Auckland. Currently I am a visiting researcher at PRIO hosted as part of the RegulAIR project. Previously I held academic positions at the University of Sussex (Brighton, UK) and Murdoch University (Perth, Australia).
My research interests pre-date my academic career and arch back to, and interact with, my professional background in journalism, security analysis and consultancy. From 2004 to 2011, I worked as the Southeast Asia correspondent and Bureau Chief for Adnkronos International and covered politics, conflicts, and political violence for the South China Morning Post. During my time in Southeast Asia, I also was security and political analyst for Jane's Information Group and World Politics Review and provided consultancy services for private and public institutions, such as the World Bank, and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Later, in between academic jobs, I briefly headed the Department of Inequality, Governance and Peace-building at London-based consultancy firm VJW International and led a research team for the Walton Family Foundation.