Research

I am currently working on two inter-related projects examining regional security norms and practice in ASEAN and beyond and interpretive methodologies and methods. I detail both below. If you would like a copy of any publications listed, please email me!

I. Regional Security Norms and Practice in ASEAN and Beyond

The core of my research examines regional diplomacy and security governance in ASEAN and elsewhere in the Global South. I am particularly interested in the evolution and contestation of ASEAN’s regional conflict management norms and comparative regionalism, examining how different communities of officials understand and enact governance norms and respond to regional crises and conflicts. I explore these themes in a number of publications and works-in-progress:

Book Manuscript: Practicing Peace: Conflict Management in Southeast Asia and South America.

In my book manuscript, which is under review, I explore 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 understand it, I center attention on 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. Drawing on extensive interview materials, I show that these dispositions shape patterns of conflict and cooperation over long periods of time.

Aarie Glas (2017), “Habits of Peace: Long-Term Regional Cooperation in Southeast Asia” European Journal of International Relations 23(4): 833–856.

In this article I explore the ‘conflictual peace’ of Southeast Asia and outline ASEAN  practices of conflict management. 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 limits the escalation of violence between states in the region, it also leads to a toleration of violence, making possible the coexistence of community-building and sustained levels of inter-state violence.

Aarie Glas (2018), “African Union Security Culture in Practice: African Problems and African Solutions” International Affairs 94(5): 1121–1138.

In this article I make use of a 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. From this foundation, I document how what appears incongruous to those external to this community is reconciled in and through practice by AU officials. An abridged account of the article was published in AllAfrica and the International Affairs Blog.

Aarie Glas and Emmanuel Balogun (2020), “Norms in Practice: People-Centric Governance in ASEAN and ECOWAS.” International Affairs

In this article, Emmanuel Balogun, and I explore the adoption, institutionalization, and practice of the norm of “people-centric” regional governance in ASEAN and ECOWAS. While both organizations institutionalized the same norm at a similar time for similar reasons, officials at each organization understand and enact it in radically different ways and with different effects. In ASEAN, the norm is understood in a limited and defensive way. It is practiced as a matter of course in ways that uphold, rather than transform, existing organizational norms and priorities. In ECOWAS, the same norm is understood in transformative ways and has led to the empowering of civil society actors and major changes to regional security policy.

Aarie Glas and Stéphanie Martel (n.d.) “Debunking the ‘ASEAN Way’: The Contested Meaning and Practice of Diplomatic Norms in Southeast Asia.” Under Review.

In this article, we rely on insights from norm contestation, practice and discourse literatures to show that the much lauded “ASEAN way” is best understood as a rhetorical commonplace or 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. A preliminary version of this article won two awards at ISA Asia-Pacific (2019), including the “Best Paper Award” and “Best New Scholar Award.”

Aarie Glas and Marion Laurence (n.d.), “Norms, Practices, and Global Governance: Non-Interference and the Evolution of Conflict Management Practices.” Article in progress.

In this work-in-progress, originally intended for ISA 2020, we respond to growing calls in global governance scholarship for more attention to the ways in which ‘quotidian occurrences’ contribute to continuity and change across local, regional and global governance. As we show, to date, these calls have been largely isolated from the ‘practice turn’ in international relations. We put these literatures together to examine why and how the norm of non-interference acquires distinct meanings in and through practice within the varied contexts of UN peace operations and the ASEAN Community. We show that divergent interpretations of the non-interference norm are embedded in seemingly mundane practices that have the potential to transform the norm over the long term.

Aarie Glas and David Zarnett (2020), “Regional Organizations” in Fen Osler Hampson, Alp Ozerdem, and Jonathan Kent (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Peace, Security and Development. New York: Routledge.

In this chapter, we survey the history of regional organizing by states and map literatures that explain it. We also outline and comment on the contours of contemporary scholarly debates, from the rational design of institutions to organizations as sites of social learning, to regional organizations as independent actors themselves.

II. Interpretive Methodologies and Methods

Central to my research agenda is an exploration of the interpretive methodologies and methods that are at the heart of my substantive research. In particular, I am interested in the effects of positionality in the production of knowledge – from how a researcher interacts in the field, to how she interprets and represents her experiences. These themes are explored in a number of pieces:

Jessica Soedirgo and Aarie Glas (2020) “Active Reflexivity: Positionality and Practice in the Production of Knowledge.” PS: Political Science and Politics. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1049096519002233

In this article we explore a gap between how positionality has been theorized – as intersectional and dynamic – to how it is often practiced in the field – unidimensional and 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 explore similar themes in a short article as part of a wider reflection in QMMR on the legacy of Professor 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. 

Aarie Glas (n.d.) “Power, Positionality, and Positions of Power: Reflexivity in Elite Interviewing” Article in progress.

This paper explores the particular challenges and opportunities of doing reflexivity in elite and organizational settings, a context less widely examined in interpretive methods literature. Here, I advance a number of practical means of doing reflexivity in these settings and highlight the importance of recording and interrogating our assumptions throughout the research process. I draw on my experience conducting more than 120 interviews with diplomats and organizational officials from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Organization of American States (OAS), the African Union (AU), and other diplomatic sites, alongside the experiences of other scholars. A preliminary version of the article was presented at APSA 2019.

I have explored similar issues in the past (e.g. papers at APSA 2013, 2016, and 2018) and I regularly teach qualitative and interpretive methods and methodologies. Please check out a recent syllabus!

In addition, please visit the Interpretive Methodologies and Methods (IMM) Group at APSA, which I have worked with for the last six years in a number of capacities, and the Qualitative Inquiry Collaborative (QUIC) at NIU where I am a member of the executive committee.

Additional Research: Global Governance 

Beyond the two core components of my ongoing research as outlined above, I remain interested in wider debates regarding historical and contemporary global governance. In particular, I am interested in the structures and practices that constitute the international system of states. These interests have driven a few additional publications:

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’. Replication data is available here.

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.

This short chapter with John Kirton (Toronto)  we engage with questions as to the changing face of global governance as relative power changes internationally, and opine on some prospects for the future. This volume is part of the excellent Routledge Security and Governance series.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s