My research interests center on issues of international security governance, regional conflict management practices and regional organizations, social International Relations theory, and interpretive research methodologies and methods.
I have extensive fieldwork experience at a number of regional organizations, having conducted interviews and archival work at the Organization for American States (Washington, DC), the ASEAN Secretariat (Jakarta, Indonesia), and the African Union Commission (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia).
My research has been published in the European Journal of International Relations, Journal of Global Security Studies, International Affairs, and the Routledge Security and Governance series. Please contact me for copies!
I am currently working on three interrelated projects:
I. Habits and Practice of Regional Security Diplomacy
Book Project: My doctoral research, and now book project, entitled Habits of Peace: Conflict Management Practices in Southeast Asia and South America, explores a puzzling reality: the regions of Southeast Asia and South America both exhibit sustained and substantial levels of inter-state violence short of war alongside sustained and substantial efforts at community-building. This ‘conflictual peace’ is something rarely addressed in international relations literatures.
To explain conflictual peace, 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. Moreover, I argue, these disposition qualities of relations shape patterns of conflict and cooperation over long periods of time. I demonstrate that it is the habituation of particular qualities of interaction that is key to pacific patterns of regional relations.
An account of my theory, methodology, and Southeast Asian case is published as Aarie Glas (2017), “Habits of Peace: Long-Term Regional Cooperation in Southeast Asia“ European Journal of International Relations 23(4): 833–856.
Three recent and on-going projects extend this research:
A. In the first,”African Union Security Culture in Practice: African Problems and African Solutions” (International Affairs, 2018, 94(5): 1121–1138), 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.
B. In the second, “Norms in Practice: People-Centric Governance in ASEAN and ECOWAS” (under review), Emmanuel Balogun (Webster University) and I 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 for similar reasons, officials at each organization understand and enact it different ways. This variation is explained by the particulars of each regional community of practice.
C. In the third project I explore variation in norms and practice of regional governance and conflict management within ASEAN. In “Inside and Outside the ASEAN Way: Stigma and Practice in Southeast Asia,” I document intra-ASEAN stigmatization practices. An early draft was presented at ISA 2018. In “Debunking the ‘ASEAN Way’: The Contested Meaning and Practice of Diplomatic Norms in Southeast Asia” Stéphanie Martel (Queen’s University) and I rely on insights from discourse and practice theory to argue that the “ASEAN Way” 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. 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 ISA 2019 and AAS 2019.
II. Multilateral Practices and Global Governance
Along with Matthew J. Hoffmann (Toronto), Robert Denemark (Delaware), and Clifton van der Linden (Toronto), I am engaged in a project that explores the constitutive effects of the practice of multilateral treaty-making in the global context. Our 2018 article, “Understanding Multilateral Treaty-Making as Constitutive Practice” (Journal of Global Security Studies, 3(3): pp. 339-357), makes use of diplomatic history and social network analysis (SNA) to argue that multilateral treaty-making is a taken-for-granted practice of the international system. Rather than merely a tool used by states, the practice is itself constitutive of both state actors and the international system itself.
This 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), entitled “Global Governance from America, Canada and the Responsible Rest“, in Debating a Post-American World (2012), part of the Routledge Security and Governance series.
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 role of a researcher’s social location and positionally in the production of knowledge, from how she interacts in the field to how she interprets and represents her experiences.
In a co-authored paper, presented at APSA 2018, “Active Reflexivity: Positionality and Practice in the Production of Knowledge” (in circulation), Jessica Soedirgo (Toronto) and I explore these issues directly and offer hands-on advice for being reflexive throughout the research process. We reflect on similar themes by reference to our mentor, Lee Ann Fujii, in: “A Posture of Active Reflexivity: Learning from Lee Ann Fujii’s Approach to Research” (forthcoming 2019, Qualitative & Multi-Method Research). I have presented on similar issues in the past (APSA 2013, 2016, 2018) and another working paper drawing on these themes, “Doing Reflexivity in Elite Contexts“, remains a in progress.
I also teach qualitative and interpretive methods and methodologies, so please check out a recent syllabus if you’re into that sort of thing (!). 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.