Rule of law assistance in an authoritarian regime: intermediary actors in Myanmar’s transition

Image of hot air balloons over temples in Bagan, Myanmar

Event details

PhD Seminar

Date & time

Tuesday 28 February 2017


Seminar Room 1.04, Coombs Extension Building (8), Fellows Road, ANU
ANU Canberra


Kristina Simion


+61 (0)2 6125 3948

Through the enterprise of foreign funded development assistance, “rule of law” as an international model for development travels across the globe. At its new site, the rule of law model requires contestation and adaptation by individual or collective actors who operate as “intermediaries” of rule of law in the field of foreign funded development assistance.

Kristina’s thesis explores such “intermediary actors” and the way they influence rule of law assistance as they translate the rule of law to local understandings, mediate different understandings between development counterparts, and use their intermediary position to accumulate social capital in Myanmar’s transition.

The empirical material for this dissertation was collected in Myanmar’s transitional setting during 2014 -2015. In a country like Myanmar where authoritarian politics still penetrate many aspects of society the promotion of rule of law is particularly challenging and intermediaries indispensible. Here, intermediaries become essential to create trust between foreign and local development counterparts.

Kristina’s thesis argues that intermediaries shape rule of law assistance in ways that are important for our understanding of development and its success, but still, they are often left unmentioned and without further exploration.

It finds that intermediaries play a significant role in the field of rule of law assistance because they operate as “moral entrepreneurs”, mediate between hostile and reluctant development partners, influence project allocation, deliver diffused messages of what “local needs” are, and buffer demands between development counterparts.

About the Speaker

Prior to commencing her PhD at RegNet in 2013, Kristina Simion worked as a Rule of Law Officer at the Swedish Agency for Peace, Security and Development, the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA). In her role she was involved in various research projects on rule of law development and assistance. Kristina is also a research coordinator for the International Network to Promote the Rule of Law and a research assistant at the Australian National University.

Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet