My PhD research project will investigate complexity and variation in state-PGM relationships. There is a growing body of empirical analyses on extra-dyadic actors that refers to “pro-government militias” (PGMs), conceived broadly as non-state armed organizations that are pro-government in some way. Because these groups are defined by their “pro-government” orientation, researchers often assume that governments directly or indirectly manage or delegate tasks to PGMs. However, a closer inspection reveals a variety of relationships with the state.
Taking case studies from Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom, Colombia, and the Philippines, my project will contribute to a better understanding of state-PGM relationships by providing theories that explain variations in government-PGM relationships, from open state-led paramilitaries through to hostile engagement between the state and counter-insurgency organisations.