Miller Center

Jesse Driscoll

Political Science , Stanford University

Exiting Anarchy: Militia Politics and the Post-Soviet Peace

Driscoll photo

Jesse Driscoll is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego.

Driscoll's primary area of interest is mapping the processes by which hierarchies emerge after periods of violence. His working hypothesis is that in the modern state system, national governments establish legitimate authority through a process of identifying, labeling, monitoring, and ultimately socializing unruly populations. How (and whether) third-party assistance can aid in these tasks is disputed. Driscoll's work has focused especially on theories that account for both variation in patterns of violence against civilians and variation in settlement strategies by armed groups. He is currently managing a number of research projects in Georgia and Tajikistan, mapping social networks, party formation, voter intimidation, and the range of technologies used by semi-authoritarian regimes to stay in power.

Driscoll's dissertation demystified the mechanisms of civil war settlement in the Former Soviet Union. By carefully comparing the experiences of two states – Georgia and Tajikistan – Driscoll reconstructed narratives of state renovation based on patterns of local similarities inside new fragile states. He gathered empirical materials for his dissertation over 21 months of fieldwork in Tajikistan and Georgia. With more than 300 field interviews, Driscoll's dissertation presented a revisionist history of the conflict resolution processes that took place in these two states. He argued that peace emerged in Georgia and Tajikistan through a process that bore only a superficial resemblance to the idealized one imagined by foreign donors. The areas he examined are 1) disarming militias, 2) institutionalizing presidential power, and 3) territorial reintegration.

Fellowship year: 2009

Mentor: Mark Beissinger, Princeton University

Categories: Political Science

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