Alfred Deakin Institute
The Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI) is a leading humanities and social sciences research institute based at Deakin University, Australia. Our researchers aim to understand the complex meanings of citizenship, social inclusion and globalisation, and investigate the imp

Governance, Development and Peace

Positioning ourselves at the intersection of critical interdisciplinary approaches, our research stream is interested in expanding interrogations of ‘development’, ‘governance’ and ‘peace’ in new ways by bringing these areas of inquiry into interdisciplinary conversations.

Our work is situated in the Anthropocene, a new geological era wherein humans are understood to have a profound and irreversible impact on planetary futures. We recognise that peace involves multiple forms of reconciliation involving complex understandings of identity, security, prosperity, democracy, rights and privilege. We are concerned with the personal, grassroots, and global aspects of efforts to promote ‘good governance’. We believe the effective and just development of governance and security is a critical planetary challenge of the 21st century.

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Our research and challenge

Our multidisciplinary research considers the political, historical, ethical and strategic problems associated with contemporary practices of development, governance and peacebuilding in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. It explores effective policymaking with respect to national, regional and global development and governance and conflict management. Our research includes studies of efforts to manage the global political economy, including crime and terrorism, civil and international conflict, post-conflict rebuilding and social reconciliation, technological innovation, and the emergence of social media in the context of globalisation.

Our challenge is to conceptualise development, governance and peace in ways that advance the life goals of the people, communities and species we work with in our research, in the face of the difficulties posed by climate change, great power rivalry, racism, sexism, speciesism, new and old forms of human and nonhuman slavery, inequalities of power and prosperity, political oppression, and armed conflict. We call for alternative forms of theory, translational, national and local identity, heritage, cultural diversity and freedom of expression that is provocative and inclusive of all diversity, across race, gender and species.

Key Research Questions

  1. What legal, institutional and governance arrangements facilitate development in the Anthropocene, responding to diverse issues such as anthropogenic climate change, political/religious extremism and terror, war and refugees, or the sixth mass species extinctions?

  2. How can nation-(un)making projects also become discourses and practices on animalising or making subhuman those beings who are othered to privilege specific articulations of ‘being human’?

  3. What are the most significant governance and development issues facing efforts to promote international peace, security, and post-conflict reconciliation in Asia and beyond? How does the rise of China redefine conventional developmental studies?

  4. How do regimes and populations negotiate landscapes of political activity? What scope do peaceful opponents, including minorities, have to challenge boundaries in authoritarian regimes, particularly in the Middle East?

  5. How can regional and global governance policy be made more effective and publicly accountable, particularly in the regulation of the transnational dimensions of civic and grassroots activism, criminality, and surveillance?

Selected projects

ARC Discovery (2018-2021) - ‘Animals and urban planning: Indian cities as Zoöpolises’

Dr. Yamini Narayanan (Deakin), Prof. Jennifer Wolch (Berkeley), Dr. Maan Barua (Oxford)

This project casts animals as vital components of urban societies in India. India’s rapid urbanisation and biodiversity decline together have critical global implications, but the complex social dimensions of Indian urban biodiversity are overlooked in current planning. Via archival and empirical methods in six ecologically diverse, rapidly growing, medium-sized cities, the project will examine the everyday realities of selected wild, commensal, and commoditised species who live close to humans. It will show how these realities are also social, to offer an empirical basis for planning to sustain urban biodiversity, and devise species-inclusive zoöpolises as successful cities of the future.

ARC Discovery Project (2018-2021) - 'Women’s NGOs and Gender Sensitive Policy Change in Iran'

Prof. Shahram Akbarzadeh and Dr. Rebecca Barlow

This project aims to investigate how Iranian women’s non-governmental organisations (NGOs) work to influence gender sensitive policy change in the restricted political system of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Utilising the Most Significant Change methodology, this project will generate new knowledge on the causal mechanisms behind NGO-driven policy change in Iran, leading to a theory of change on NGOs and gender sensitive policy change in Islamic political systems more broadly. The findings will enhance scholarly understanding of Iranian civil society, and build the capacity of the Australian government to foster ties and invest in successful strategies for progress with Iran – a major regional player in international relations.

Leadership Development for Multifaith Women Leaders from Indonesia (DFAT Australia Awards in Indonesia project 2018)

Prof. Shahram Akbarzadeh and Dr. Rebecca Barlow

In September 2018 ADI hosted a delegation of thirty Islamic women leaders from Indonesia for a capacity-building course on women's leadership in Melbourne. The Leadership Development Course is part of the prestigious Australia Awards Scholarships funded by the Australian Government. It is designed to empower awardees with the knowledge and skills to transform power relations and increase women’s participation in the public realm. This is the second year running that ADI has been selected as the course provider. The course includes site visits in Melbourne to leading multicultural and women’s organisations, high-level meetings, expert panels and networking sessions. Awardees will meet with influential Australian women leaders from a range of fields including health, the media, business, the not-for-profit sector and local, and politics.

ARC Discovery Indigenous (2018-2022) - 'Beyond Recognition: Strengthening Relationality Across Difference in Postcolonial Contexts'

Prof. Yin Paradies, Dr Sam Balaton-Chrimes and Dr Victoria Stead

This project aims to improve our understanding of relationships between indigenous and non-indigenous people in both settler-colonial (Australia) and formerly colonised (Kenya and Papua New Guinea) countries by better understanding claims for and against recognition. Expected outcomes include new insights into the political effects and limits of ‘the politics of recognition’ in diverse contexts of postcolonialism. These will enhance the capacities of indigenous peoples to negotiate power imbalances, and of Australian policy makers, development workers and corporations to engage effectively and ethically in such negotiations.

ARC Discovery Grant (2017-2020) - 'Australia's foreign aid since 1945: National values and aid allocation'

Prof. Mark McGillivray and Prof. David Lowe

This project aims to analyse Australian motives and their connectedness to the allocation of foreign aid since the Second World War. In addition to reducing poverty and lifting living standards abroad, aid has always been linked to other interests such as the promotion of security, economic opportunity and other outcomes. This project will research relationships between identified values and geographical priorities in Australia's aid programme. In reconnecting history with the social science of applied economics, it will provide methodological paths for further research, including comparable studies of other governments giving aid. This project expects to add to understanding of Australia's role in world affairs and the significance of aid in Australia's international reputation.