Governance, justice and security

Our research stream is concerned with the personal, social and global aspects of efforts to promote peace, stability and justice. We believe the effective and just development of governance and security is a critical challenge of the 21st century.

Our challenge

This challenge encompasses efforts to manage crime and terrorism, surveillance and law enforcement, civil and international conflict, post-conflict rebuilding and social reconciliation. It also includes the promotion of regional and international security as well as effective policymaking with respect to national, regional and global governance.

Our key questions

  1. How can democratic societies respond effectively to the threat of terrorism and political extremism without abandoning their democratic principles?

  2. How can societies effectively and humanely respond to the transnational movement of people?

  3. How can post-conflict reconciliation be conducted in ways that strengthens peace and security, rather than laying the foundations for future grievance and conflict?

  4. What are the most significant issues facing efforts to respond to contemporary crises in international security?

  5. How can national and global governance be strengthened to address transnational problems such as climate change?

  6. What are the ways that global governance can be made more publicly accountable and legitimate?

Our research

Our research rethinks the meaning of governance, justice and security, and related concepts like democracy, human rights and power. It considers the political, historical and ethical problems associated with contemporary practices of governance and security around the world. 

Our multidisciplinary research recognises such forces as globalisation, technological innovation, the emergence of social media and civil society, emerging threats to human and environmental security and changes in the global balance of power.

Our projects

Our research projects offer opportunities to rethink the meaning of governance, justice and security, as well as related concepts like democracy, human rights and power. We also consider the political, historical and ethical problems associated with contemporary practices of governance and security around the world.

Analysis of the causes, nature and capacities for peace in Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim - Rakhine Buddhist conflict

This project will analyse the complex conflict between the national Burmese government, the “Rohingya” Muslims and the local Buddhist in Rakhine state, Myanmar, in light of the country's historic political, and economic transition.

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Conflict Analysis and Peacebuilding in Rakhine State, Myanmar

This project is a research component of a much larger development programme being implemented by the Australian NGO Graceworks Myanmar Inc (GWM) in Rakhine State of Myanmar—the site of significant conflict between the ‘Rohingya’ Muslims, local Rakhine Buddhists, and the Burmese State.

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Experiences and perspectives of Koreans in Australia and New Zealand

This project analyses the lives of Korean migrants who were born or grew up in Australia and New Zealand (including adoptees), the role that they play in their host societies, their connections with the Korean community and with the Korean homeland, and the formation of their identities.

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Measuring Cultural Property Destruction in Iraq and Syria

This project sets out to document and interpret the heritage destruction which has occurred in Iraq and Syria, following the Iraq War of 2003, the ‘Arab Spring’ of 2011 and particularly since the rise of the ‘Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’ (ISIS).

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War to peace in Soviet-occupied Europe

This project looks at the chaotic transition from war to peace in Soviet-occupied Europe from 1945 to 1953. We're using innovative methodology to newly declassified archival data to compare the experiences of social collapse, famine and reconstruction across this region.

This broad comparative approach addresses the unresolved question of why violence against the Soviet state, culminating in insurgency, emerged in some areas and not others. Our research publications could change the way we think about the effects of insurgency and counter-insurgency on post-war Soviet development. They will inform and reshape international debates on historical memory and state building.

This project is being investigated by Dr Filip Slaveski and funded by ARC DECRA.

Regional Security in the Arab Revolutions

This project assesses the extent to which religious discourse is an integral part of identity politics in the Middle East, and/or is instrumentalised for political gain. It analyzes the relationship between internal and external dynamics in the Arab world and factors that contribute to regional instability. 

This research will shed new light on the role and significance of Islamist discourse, culture, and religion in setting foreign policy agendas in the post-revolutionary Arab states. The key question addressed by this project is: How and why have sectarian tensions become so prominent in the political discourse of the post-revolutionary Arab states?

Researching the above question is supported by the following supplementary and related questions to contextualise the project: 

  • Are sectarian tensions the result of the political instrumentalisation of the Islamic discourse - Sunni versus Shia' - by existing regimes to pursue material national interests?
  • If so, why is it seen to be politically expedient to play the sectarian card?
  • Are the regimes actually appealing to shared understandings of what it is to be Sunni or Shia amongst their own populations, in order to advance a domestically 'acceptable' foreign policy?
  • If this is the case, is foreign policy likely to change as people's understandings of self, place, and space change?
  • Or alternatively, are we dealing with primordial Sunni/Shia divide, wherein deep-rooted historical and cultural differences are the primary cause of tension and conflict in the Arab states? By exploring these questions, this project will shed new light on the role and significance of Islamist discourse, culture and religion in setting foreign policy agendas in the post-revolutionary Arab states.

Developing a Broadcasting Model to Counter Violent Extremism in Thailand

This project is developing a broadcasting model to counter violent extremism in Thailand. We’re developing strategies to combat extreme ideologies, behaviours, and values in Thai Muslim communities with a view to preventing, combating and minimising anti-social behaviour, and building community resilience.

In partnership with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission of Thailand (NBTC), this project is being investigated by Dr Virginie Andre and project managed by Ros King. The project team includes: Lara Emaoula, Bruce McFarlane, Dr Riccardo Armiellei, Muhammad Iqbal, Ekkarin Tuansiri, Claire Robert, Dr Matteo Vergani and Natawut Kalayanamit.

First project phase

The first completed stage of our project analysed community perceptions of mainstream media representation and community understanding of jihad, including both traditional broadcast media and social media. We found that the communal understanding of the notion of jihad largely follows a classical understanding. This differs greatly from the southern Thailand Patani militant neojihadist narrative that appears to be only embraced by a minority of individuals.

We also found that television is perceived as being biased and that news is mainly sourced through the internet and social media, community radios and newspapers. A content analysis of local radio was completed that looked at the links between representations of violence and the conflict in the south. Here the project found that local radio stations do not necessarily communicate more violent images and narratives, and can, in fact, act as a hub for counter-narratives.

Training workshop

During the first phase we held a Public Diplomacy, Broadcast Media and Countering Violent Extremism training workshop for staff members of the NBTC. The workshop was designed to enhance the practice of public diplomacy through broadcast media. The week-long workshop provided participants with a critical understanding of public diplomacy and equipped them with the skills to comprehend how public diplomacy through broadcast media can play an important role in countering violent extremism.

Developing a broadcasting model

The current phase of our project commenced in April 2015. We're taking the initial findings, along with lessons learnt in Australia and selected European countries to develop a broadcasting model to counter violent extremism in Thailand.

We're looking at traditional broadcast media and also social media that have been highlighted as a space widely used to propagate violent extremist narratives. We're also examining what narratives are being propagated within social media and if there is any interplay between the global, regional, and local contexts.

Our books

The Arab Revolutions in Context: Civil Society and Democracy in a changing Middle East – Associate Professor Benjamin Isakhan, Alfred Deakin Professor Fethi Mansouri, Professor Shahram Akbarzadeh 

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Democracy and Crisis Democratising Governance in the Twenty-First Century – Associate Professor Benjamin Isakhan, Dr Steven Slaughter 

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The Soviet Occupation of Germany: Hunger, Mass Violence and the Struggle for Peace, 1945–1947 – Dr Filip Slaveski 

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Contentious Activism and Inter-Korean Relations – Dr Danielle Chubb 

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Contact us

Chair in International Studies
Professor Baogang He
+61 3 9244 3900
Email Professor He

Senior Lecturer in International Relations
Dr Steven Slaughter
+61 3 9251 7755
Email Dr Slaughter

Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation
Faculty of Arts and Education
Deakin University
221 Burwood Highway
Burwood, Victoria 3125