People > Faculty ProfiLes > Diane Davis
- Geographic Areas of Expertise:Latin America (primarily Mexico but also Argentina); East Asia (South Korea and Taiwan); and South Africa and Russia.
- Teaching Focus:Urban Violence and Insecurity; Urbanization and Development; Comparative Politics of Urban Policy; Cities and Sovereignty; Conflict Cities; Cities and Globalization.
- Recent Awards:Bernard Brodie Prize for Best Article of the Year in Contemporary Security Policy, International Studies Association, February 2010; Best Book in Political Sociology, Awarded by the Section on Political Sociology, American Sociological Association, July 2005.
- Curriculum Vitae (PDF)
- Assistant:Phil Sunde
Q. Who most influenced your work as a scholar of international development and why?
Davis: In an earlier response to this question I had identified Manuel Castells and Maurice Zeitlin as main influences, because as dissertation advisors they introduced me to the study of cities and the political economy of Latin America, respectively. But that was so long ago, and as time has passed I have renewed my appreciation for the work of the late Charles Tilly. He was a former colleague at the New School for Social Research whose scholarship on the relations between cities and state formation has inspired some of my current work on urban violence and its implications for governance and sovereignty. In fact, I have just published an article on this topic in a recent volume of Theory and Society that was compiled as a festschrift in his honor, and that also contains writings from other development scholars like Patrick Heller, Peter Evans, and one of our former doctoral students Smita Srinivas. Although Tilly was not considered a scholar of “international development,” his insights into the ways that capital and coercion played themselves out in cities, thus impacting industrialization, employment, labor organization, national development, and global dominance are critical to our fields of study at IDG.
Q. What is your research focus?
Davis: I currently am involved in a project titled “Urban Resilience in Situations of Chronic Violence,” which focuses on cities that have faced ongoing violence, whether political, economic, or both. I am interested in how individuals and institutions adapt to chronic violence, and whether their adaptations, which can be identified as a form of resiliency, will lead to positive or negative outcomes. I am particularly interested in adaptations in the arenas of security provision, urban service delivery, and informal and well as formal governance. My own research focuses primarily on Latin America, but along with other team members in the project we include case studies from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. I still continue to study police corruption and police impunity, a project that has recently led me to an examination of private security forces (ranging from private guards to mafia) as well as the proliferation of private security techniques (such as surveillance cameras, gating, BIDs) and their impact on urban space.
Q. Please tell us about of your most recent publications of note.
Davis:I recently received the Bernard Brodie Award for my article titled “Non-State Armed Actors, New Imagined Communities, and Shifting Patterns of Sovereignty and Security in the Modern World,” which appeared in Contemporary Security Policy (2009). It examines the rise of sub-national and transnational actors involved in violence and how they both challenge sovereign states and drive urban and national insecurity in the developing world. In addition to a new volume forthcoming in late 2010 called Cities and Sovereignty: Identity Conflicts in Urban Spaces (Indiana University Press), which I co-edited with Nora Libertun de Duren, a former doctoral student from IDG, I have several chapters in books on violence in Latin America including one titled “The Political and Economic Origins of Violence and Insecurity in Contemporary Latin America: Past Trajectories and Future Prospects.” In Desmond Arias and Daniel Goldstein (eds.), Violent Democracies in Latin America: Toward an Interdisciplinary Reconceptualization, Durham: Duke University Press.
Q. What are some of your most recent public lectures?
Davis: "The Insecure City", The University of Florence, "Discipline and Development", Yale University and "The Resilient City", MIT (available on MIT World).