My research interests center on regional governance and organizations, particularly ASEAN and Southeast Asia, conflict management practices, social theory, and interpretive research methodologies and methods.
My research has been published in the European Journal of International Relations, Journal of Global Security Studies, International Affairs, Qualitative and Multi-Method Research, and the Routledge Security and Governance series. Please contact me for copies if you cannot access them with ease!
I am currently working on three interrelated projects:
I. Regional Security Practice in the Global South
I am expanding my doctoral research into a book manuscript entitled Habits of Peace: Conflict Management Practices in Southeast Asia and South America. The book explores a puzzle: Southeast Asia and South America both exhibit sustained and substantial levels of inter-state violence alongside sustained and substantial efforts at community-building. This ‘conflictual peace’ is something rarely addressed in international relations literatures. To explain it, I examine the conflict management practices of communities of state officials in each region. I document the existence and effect of what I term ‘habitual dispositions’ of regional conflict management – distinct and deeply internalized knowledge and relatively automatic security practices that shape how officials understand and respond to conflict. I show that these dispositions shape patterns of conflict and cooperation over long periods of time.
The theory and methodology developed in the book and their application to the case of Southeast Asia is published as:
In this article I demonstrate the conflictual peace of Southeast Asia and I outline the practices that ASEAN officials dispositionally turn to in an attempt to resolve regional crises. With an empirical focus on ASEAN’s mediation efforts during the 2011 Preah Vihear conflict between Thailand and Cambodia, I document the existence and effects of a Southeast Asian habitual disposition. I argue that while this set of diplomatic practices may limit the escalation of violence between regional states, it also leads to a toleration of violence and thereby makes possible the coexistence of community-building and sustained levels of inter-state violence in the region.
I apply my theoretical framework to additional cases and puzzles in two subsequent articles:
Here, I make use of a similar practice-based framework to understand the apparent incongruity between the AU norm of ‘African Problems and African Solutions’ and the organization’s dependence on extra-regional actors. I show that the AU is a community of practice wherein norms are internalized and practiced in particular ways and document how what appears incongruous to those external to the community is reconciled in and through practice by AU officials. You can find a more journalist account of my article in AllAfrica and the International Affairs Blog.
Emmanuel Balogun and Aarie Glas (n.d.), “People-Centrism in Regional Communities: Practice and Norm Adoption in ASEAN and ECOWAS.” Under Review.
In this article, we explore the turn to “people-centric” regional governance at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). We show that while both organizations have institutionalized the same norm, at a similar time and for similar reasons, officials at each organization understand and enact it different ways and with different effects. This variation, we show, is explained by the particulars of each regional community of practice.
Additionally, I am co-authoring a chapter exploring regional organizations more generally:
Aarie Glas and David Zarnett (n.d.), “Regional Organizations” in Fen Osler Hampson and Alp Ozerdem (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Peace, Security and Development. In Preparation.
In this chapter we survey the history of regional organizing by states and the development of scholarly literature attempting to explain this phenomena, and we outline the contours of contemporary scholarly debate from the rationalist design of institutions to organizations as sites of social learning to regional organizations as actors themselves.
II. Norms and Practices in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
In an on-going project, I am building on the central arguments of my book project and 2017 EJIR article to narrow in on the norms and practices of Southeast Asian regionalism and the ASEAN Community. More precisely, I explore variation in norms and practice of regional governance and conflict management within ASEAN. While many scholars articulate a singular “ASEAN way”, this project examines variation within the region itself. Two works-in-progress address these issues:
Aarie Glas (n.d.) “Inside and Outside the ASEAN Way: Stigma and Practice in Southeast Asia.” Paper in Progress.
In this paper, I show that member states understand and enact ASEAN norms in particular ways, and that they make use of stigmatization processes to reify distinctive and indeed novel understandings of long-held regional norms. I focus on how the norm of non-interference has evolved over time within ASEAN, with particular attention paid to how Indonesian officials have understood regional non-interference in relation to crises in Myanmar, including the international response to Cyclone Nargis in 2008 and the on-going Rohingya crisis today. A draft of this paper was presented at ISA 2018 and it remains in progress.
Aarie Glas and Stéphanie Martel (n.d.) “Debunking the ‘ASEAN Way’: The Contested Meaning and Practice of Diplomatic Norms in Southeast Asia.” Paper in Progress.
In this paper, we rely on fresh insights from discourse and practice theory to argue that the “ASEAN way” itself is best understood as a trope, around which there is growing debate over what counts as both appropriate and competent diplomatic behaviour among its member states. We show that this debate pits founding members on one side, and newer members, particularly Myanmar and Cambodia, on the other. This working paper will be presented at AAS in Asia and ISA in Asia in the summer of 2019.
III. Interpretive Methods and Methodologies
My research agenda also interrogates the interpretive and qualitative methods that are the heart of my own research. In particular, I am interested in the exploring the effects of positionally in the production of knowledge, from how a researcher interacts in the field to how she interprets and represents her experiences. I explore these themes in a number of related publications and works-in-progress:
Jessica Soedirgo and Aarie Glas (n.d.) “Active Reflexivity: Positionality and Practice in the Production of Knowledge.” Paper in Progress.
In this working paper, we articulate what we see as a gap between who positionality has been theorized – as intersectional and dynamic – to how it is often practiced in the field – unidimensional or static. Through a survey of our own challenges in the field and those of others, we advance one way to practice positionality by adopting what we term a posture of “active reflexivity”. We outline the utility this approach and some concrete steps researchers can engage in to be more actively reflexive across different stages of the research process. We develop these ideas in a recent and short article as part of a wider reflection in QMMR on the legacy of Lee Ann Fujii: Aarie Glas and Jessica Soedirgo (2018) “A Posture of Active Reflexivity: Learning from Lee Ann Fujii’s Approach to Research” Qualitative & Multi-Method Research 16(1): 53-55.
I have explore issues of positionally and broader issues of methodology in the past (APSA 2013, 2016, 2018) and another working paper drawing on these themes, “Power, Positionality, and Positions of Power: Reflexivity in Elite Interviewing,” remains a in progress. I also teach qualitative and interpretive methods and methodologies, so please check out a recent syllabus or contact me for more details. Feel free to also visit the Interpretive Methodologies Methods (IMM) working group at APSA, which I have worked with for the last four years in a number of capacities.
While a doctoral student at the University of Toronto I also explored issues of global governance. I worked with Matthew J. Hoffmann (Toronto), Robert Denemark (Delaware), and a number of other researchers to examine trends in multilateral treaty-making. As a research assistant I aided a number of projects, and as a co-author centered my attention on exploring the constitutive effects of the practice of multilateral treaty-making. This study was published in 2018:
Aarie Glas, Clifton van der Linden, Matthew J. Hoffmann, and Robert Denemark (2018), “Understanding Multilateral Treaty-Making as Constitutive Practice” Journal of Global Security Studies 3(3): 339-357.
In this article, my co-authors and I argue that multilateral treaty-making is a taken-for-granted practice of the international system, and has been since the late 19th century. We use diplomatic history alongside detailed social network analysis (SNA) making use of a unique dataset, the Multilateral Agreements and Treaties Record Set (MATRS), to demonstrate the growing use and taken-for-granted nature of the practice. Moreover, we argue that rather than merely a tool used by states, the practice is itself constitutive of both state actors and the international system itself. We show this by exploring critical junctures when states (e.g. the Soviet Union) and groups fo states (post-WWII European states and post-colonial states) could have adopted alternative means to pursue their interests, but turned to multilateral treaty-making as a matter of course and, through doing so, reified themselves as ‘states’.
My engagement with questions of global governance builds on my long-held interest in the institutions and structures of the post-WWII global order. On this, see my short chapter with John Kirton (Toronto) part of the Routledge Security and Governance series:
Aarie Glas and John Kirton (2012), “Global Governance from America, Canada and the Responsible Rest” in Sean Clark and Sabrina Hoque (eds.). Debating a Post-American World: What Lies Ahead. London: Routledge, pp. 221-225.