I am currently working on the following projects (excerpt):
Assessing Civil Liberties in Top-Down Transition: Myanmar as a Country Case. This research project assesses on-going top-down transitions. Established democracy indices can’t catch up with the dynamic changes in context of transition that appear even in controlled transitions. As it is argued, the set of fundamental civil liberties is a substantive dimension of democracy and, therefore, a suitable dimension to assess regime change towards democracy. In addition, previous studies have shown that civil liberties have a mutually reinforcing effect on further democratization. In Myanmar, there are prevailing doubts as to whether the reform process is intended to transform Myanmar into some type of hybrid regime or a full-fledged liberal democracy. A careful examination of the development of civil liberties in the country’s transition, up to now, can help to shed light on this question. Hypotheses are derived and empirically tested with protest event data from the Myanmar Protest Event Dataset.
Youth Activism in Transition: Myanmar as a Country Case.
Previous findings suggest that youth – under certain circumstances – are more post-materialistic than other groups in society. Democratic values, moreover, considered as being post-materialistic, are a necessary condition for establishing a consolidated democracy. Consequently, youth should be seen as a critical force in facilitating further democratization in transition countries. The special impact youth activism can have in a transition, becomes evident in Myanmar. Here a widespread post-materialism among youth is explained by the historical legacy of the struggle for democracy. This struggle is rooted in the deadly crackdown on student protests in 1988 and the following decades of repressive military rule. By including the older generation of youth, namely the “88 Student Generation”, this work defines youth broadly as a shared collective identity of the young and old generation. A shared collective identity of youth and positions of post-materialism among them is empirically tested with data from the “Myanmar Protest Event Dataset”. It can be shown that both generations demonstrate similar protest patterns and, on average, protest significantly more for post-materialistic issues than the rest of the protesting groups in Myanmar.