His research specialisation focuses on the comparative political sociology of authoritarianism in the post-Soviet space. It explores the dynamics and relationship between the agency and structures of post-Soviet authoritarianism, state-building and nation-building. His research also explores how the post-Soviet experience, especially in the Central Asian region, informs theories and concepts pertaining to authoritarianism, institutionalism, democratization and nation-building. This focus is developed through an analysis of the politics and society of the Central Asian Republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and addresses three particular areas: 1) the relationship between, and the development of, informal and formal institutions (parties, elections, judiciary, clans, factions and patrimonial politics), 2) the processes and dynamics of post-Soviet nation-building, especially through the cultural production and reception of different nation-building discourses and narratives and 3) the response of domestic political actors to the modernizing and democratizing efforts of international agents such as the EU and the OSCE.
Research grants and awards
- 2015-2018 European Commission Marie Curie Sklodowska Horizon 2020 Innovative Training Networks Grant, 'Around the Caspian: doctoral training for future experts in development and cooperation with focus on the Caspian region (as part of a consortium led by Dublin City University).
- 2014 British Council Researcher Links Travel Grant
- 2013 Higher Education Academy Workshop Grant (Ref: GEN806)
- 2011, British Academy Small Grant (Ref: SG101607)
'Assessing the Effectiveness of Democracy Promotion in the Former Soviet Union'
- 2011, British Academy Overseas Conference Grant (Ref: oc100422)
'Authority, Legitimacy and Regime Stability in Central Asia'
- 2006-07, Leverhulme Trust Study Abroad Studentship (Ref: SAS 30161)
'Political Institutions in Central Asia'.
- 2005-07, Oxford Brookes Research Studentship Award
Funding for Doctoral Studies.