His research interests focus primarily on international efforts to provide institutional and legal forms of protection to civilians and forced migrants. He is the author of A Right to Flee: Refugees, States, and the Construction of International Cooperation (Cambridge University Press, 2014) which examines the emergence and evolution of norms around refugee protection and which won the 2016 International Studies Association Ethnicity, Nationalism, and Migration Studies Section Distinguished Book Award, and the forthcoming book Protecting the Internally Displaced: Rhetoric and Reality (Routledge, 2018). His co-edited book, with Alexander Betts and entitled Implementation in World Politics: How Norms Change Practice (Oxford University Press, 2014), examines the difficulties in implementing even strongly institutionalized human-centered norms.
Current research projects:
Protecting the Internally Displaced: Rhetoric and Reality (forthcoming, Routledge) examines how the emergence of IDP protection as an international issue in the past twenty years has challenged basic understandings around similar issues, including refugee protection, migration, humanitarianism, and international humanitarian and human rights law. The book examines these issues as separate regimes, and uses theories of regime complexity to explore how the emergence of the internally displaced persons protection regime over the past twenty years has interacted, transformed, and undermined other existing regimes.
Improving the International Response to Regime-Induced Displacement – this ARC Discovery funded project (DP150102453) examines why governments increasingly use force to deliberately displace their own populations on a massive scale, which is termed regime-induced displacement. Through a mix of quantitative and case study research, this project explains why such actions have become rational strategies for regimes to respond to ethnic groups which may be a threat to them and how these regimes try to justify their behaviour in order to thwart or delay international action. This is a critical issue as beyond its human cost, regime-induced displacement can lead to state fragility and regional instability as cases from Darfur to Syria demonstrate.