The following are my current research projects (and working papers):

Populism in Southeast Asia
Populism is one of the biggest contemporary challenges for fragile democracies in the developing world. My PhD research project is an examination of the causes, contours, and consequences of populist mobilizations in the Philippines and Thailand from the lens of comparative populism. With a focus on the cases of Rodrigo Duterte, Joseph Estrada, and Thaksin Shinawatra, and in comparison with cases of populist leaderships in Latin America and East-Central Europe, my study explains what makes (some) populist mobilizations endure. My research shows that the uneven levels of strength and durability of populist governments is a result of variations in mobilization strategies.

Working paper (forthcoming in ISEAS’ Southeast Asian Affairs 2021): “The populist brand is crisis: Durable Dutertismo amidst mismanaged COVID19 pandemic“.

Disinformation in Southeast Asia
A diverse range of societies is increasingly facing the challenge of disinformation but we still need a more systematic understanding of the variations in disinformation vulnerability, especially in Southeast Asia. This research project, in collaboration with Jose Mari Hall Lanuza (University of the Philippines Manila), spotlights the relationship of media systems and disinformation in the region. Our research shows that different media system features produce a variety of incentives that shape disinformation. We argue that taking a media system approach (rather than the “bad apples” approach) reveals the institutional sources of disinformation vulnerabilities, enabling civil society, government, and even the private sector, to design more appropriate and effective responses to combat disinformation.

Working paper (forthcoming in KAS and Digital Asia Hub’s “The Next Digital Decade: Policy Approaches in Asia” [2021]): “Media system approach to disinformation vulnerability: Developing disinformation resilience in Southeast Asia and beyond” (with Jose Mari Hall Lanuza).

Working paper (forthcoming in Dani Madrid-Morales and Herman Wasserman’s “Rumors, False News, and Disinformation in the Global South” [Wiley-Blackwell, 2021]): “Media system incentives for disinformation: Exploring the relationships between institutional design and disinformation vulnerability” (with Jose Mari Hall Lanuza).

Rising China in Southeast Asia
As a new global power, the spectacularly rising China has been reshaping, and in turn also shaped by the responses of, its immediate neighbors in Southeast Asia. In collaboration with Karel Jiaan Antonio Galang (Asia Democracy Network), this research project is an assessment of how a rising non-democratic actor affects the fate of democracy building and human rights work in the region. Our research particularly look at the varieties of Chinese government’s growing influence in the economy, politics, and security of different Southeast Asian societies and how the region’s states are distinctively responding to this. Our research calls on Asian civil society groups to take a more deliberate approach in engaging the rising China.

Working paper (forthcoming in ADN’s “Non-Democratic Influences in Asia”): “[CHAPTER ONE] China’s dream: A new era of weak democracies and strong autocracies in Asia” and “[CHAPTER THREE] Our seas under siege, our health at risk: A nationalist China and Asia’s growing insecurity”.
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Department of Political and Social Change
Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs
The Australian National University

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