Summer Plans and Updates

I’ve arrived and settled into Munich until early July, and along with a few trips to other parts of Germany and Brussels, it should be a good stay on the Continent. At the moment version two of the dissertation is under review, so hopefully by early June I’ll have feedback and an idea of when a defense will be scheduled. *Fingers crossed*


In the meantime, I’m gearing up for the academic job market with a search primarily focused on Europe. The fun part of the search will be developing job market papers, of which a few are underway:

“Peace Durability, ICTs and Peacekeeping: Technology investments and post-conflict economic growth through peacekeeping operations,” with Nicholas Bodanac.

My colleague Nicholas Bodanac and I propose that peacekeeping missions use of ICTs can play a significant role in spurring economic development, by providing initial capital to encourage ICT infrastructure investment in post-conflict settings. This initial investment in ICT infrastructure can continue to have benefits, as education, business and government make increasing use of communications systems over time. This can support economic and political development, supporting more durable peace during and after a peacekeeping mission.

“Peacekeeping and the ‘Crowd’: How does Crowdsourcing Technology Support United Nations Peacekeeping Operations?”

I presented this paper at ISA back in 2014: “Multi-dimensional peacekeeping operations have evolved significantly since the late 1990s, but the capacity to meet the needs of local populations has lagged behind the political expectations of operational capacity. Efforts to improve data on local-level violence in Liberia, and local reporting of violence via SMS text messaging in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have demonstrated the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations’s (UNDPKO) interest in improving local-level information collection and public opinion. This paper will use these two cases to frame methods for localized data collection, then extend them by discussion how different crowdsourcing technologies and methods can be used by the UNDPKO. It will close with an analysis of the theoretical issues associated with technology-aided peacekeeping, and policy challenges that come with integrating crowdsourcing into the UNDPKO’s information collection and management processes.”

“Is the (Technology) Tail Wagging the (Development) Dog: How do private technology partners affect the goals of development programming?”

I’m revisiting this paper, which I presented in Singapore in early 2015: “Communications technologies (ICTs) have played an increased role in development programming since the early 2000s. Chief among these technologies are mobile phones, which have been integrated into everything from public health, education, disaster management, and public administration. The key question from the standpoint of how these programs affect local populations is whether they are designed based on the needs of the beneficiaries, or on path-dependent organizational decisions to use particular technologies based on popular trends or commercial availability. This paper will explore the political economy of using privately held technology and data services for international development, laying out theoretical and policy implications related to privacy issues, digital divides and ownership.”

“When Information Becomes Action: Information Technology Use in Kenya and Samoa when Managing Collective Action Problems During Crisis.”

Basically my dissertation research, but shortened and tightened up for a comparative politics journal.

“Are We Innovating Yet? Understanding how organizations and project leaders design crowdsourcing programs in conflict settings”

Also from my dissertation, a deeper look at a selection of crowdsourcing projects implemented for disaster response, conflict analysis, and violence prevention. The main question I ask is: How have organizations and project designers integrated mobile technologies into their interventions, and have these programs led to institutional innovation in humanitarian response and violence prevention? Does the use of these types of technologies lead to greater interaction between local and international actors, or is crowdsourcing merely an alternative mechanism for surveillance and data collection?


Other than writing, I’ll be up in Berlin getting acquainted with the peacebuilding/conflict research scene June 7-11, and I’ll be in Brussels June 22-26 for the European Political Science Association meeting presenting the paper on peace durability, ICTs and peacekeeping. Should be a fun June!


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