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Simon Fraser University
Peripheral state strategies, political patronage, human rights, transitional justice, socialization, international relations theory
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About Me

My research examines the strategic lives of states at the global periphery whose internal orders conflict with global norms. Domestically, they have weak formal institutions, and secure order via patron-client networks instead. This means that state resources like cash, job opportunities and even physical protection are distributed as privileges to the loyal rather than by right. As a result, their method of maintaining stability leads them to clash with donors who demand that they observe human rights and good governance norms.

I use a comparative, fieldwork-based approach to try to understand local meanings and practices around international norms in peripheral, generally post-colonial societies. In doing so, I find that claims of their “socialization” to international norms are often greatly exaggerated due to their regimes’ skills at dissembling.

As a retired Sierra Leonean politician told me, “This is where diplomacy becomes useful. You have to lie.”

Recent Publications

“Rebranding state power: Uganda’s strategic use of the International Criminal Court,” Development and Change 46(2), March 2015

“How not to be seen: Legitimacy, power, and the international politics of invisibility,” Global Governance 22(2), May 2016

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