Claire Smith



Dr Claire Smith (B.A. Hons (Oxford), MIA (Columbia), Ph.D. (LSE)) is a Lecturer in Post-War Recovery Studies at the Department of Politics and the Post-War Reconstruction and Development Unit (PRDU). She moved to York in May 2011 from London, where she was a Teaching Fellow in Complex Emergencies at the London School of Economics (LSE) and War to Peace Transitions at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). She also held a Visiting Fellowship at the Crisis States Research Centre at the LSE in 2010. Claire completed her doctorate in Development Studies on the politics of democratic transition and post-conflict reconstruction in Indonesia at the LSE in 2009.

Claire specialises in the theory and politics of democratic transition and political change, with a particular interest in development, war, ethno-religious conflict, state building and the role of corruption in post-conflict reconstruction. She has a special interest in political dynamics in the wider Muslim world. Claire has research and policy experience in Indonesia, Cambodia and Lao PDR with the World Bank and several UN agencies.






Claire's research interests are in the comparative politics of democratic transition and political transformation. Her research focuses on the role of political elites and international actors in political change in multi-ethnic states. She has a broad interest in theories of and policy responses to development, conflict, post-conflict reconstruction, corruption, ethno-religious violence and state building. Her research centres on Southeast Asia, and she has extensive experience in Indonesia.

Current projects

  • The politics of democratic transition, conflict and post-conflict reconstruction in Indonesia
  • The comparative politics of war, peace and state building in Southeast Asia
  • The ethno-politics of development, decentralisation and democratisation in Eastern Indonesia


Selected publications


  • (2012) Anatomy of a Contested State: Political continuity during Indonesia's democratic transition (book manuscript in preparation)
  • (2011) "The Art of Recovery: The role of unpalatable policies in post-war reconstruction in Indonesia and beyond" (journal article in preparation)
  • (2011) "Crisis, Aid and Clientelism: Explaining electoral continuity in post-conflict Indonesia" (journal article in preparation)


  • (2009) "The return of the Sultan: Power, patronage and political machines in 'post-conflict' Indonesia" book chapter in Deepening democracy in Indonesia: Direct elections for local leaders, Eds. Maribeth Erb and Priyambudi Sulistiayanto, Singapore: ISEAS
  • (2008) "Indigenous welfare and HIV-AIDS risks: The impacts of government reform in Papua, Indonesia", Aids, Conflict & Security Initiative (ASCI) Research Report No.12, Social Science Research Council and Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • (2005) "The roots of violence and prospects for reconciliation: Ethnic conflict in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia", Conflict Prevention and Reconstruction Working Paper No. 23. Washington D.C.: World Bank. Also published as World Bank Social Development Paper No. 80
  • (2004) "Understanding local level conflict in developing countries: Theory, evidence and implications from Indonesia" with Patrick Barron and Michael Woolcock, Conflict Prevention and Reconstruction Working Paper No. 19. Washington D.C.: World Bank
  • (2004) "Policy levers in Indonesia", CRISE Policy Context Paper 5,  Centre for Research on Inequality, Security and Ethnicity (CRISE), Department of International Development (QEH), Oxford University
  • (2004) "Do participatory development projects help villagers manage local level conflicts?", with Patrick Barron et al., Conflict Prevention and Reconstruction Working Paper No. 9 (revised version), Washington D.C.: World Bank

Claire Smith

Contact details

Dr Claire Smith
Department of Politics
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: 01904 322643

Feedback and Guidance hours for this term - Mondays & Tuesdays 12:30-13:30 (Week 4 only - Thursday 12:30-14:30)