ABOUT ME

I am a PhD candidate at the Geneva Graduate Institute. Previously, I completed my  master's in Public and International Affairs from the University of Ottawa and a B.A. with Honours in Conflict Studies and Human Rights. My research, broadly speaking, falls under the discipline of international security and I am mostly interested in historical sociological change in international security. I strongly encourage you to read my philosophical section to know more about what I think it means to study international security.

 

Just before committing to a career as a researcher, I retired from the Canadian Armed Forces in 2017. During my decade of service, I participated in several deployments oversea, most notably in the Gulf of Aden and Afghanistan as a junior Armoured Recce leader. I ultimately led a troop (30 soldiers) in response to major regional floodings in Canada during the summer of 2017. What I am most proud of, in terms of my military career, are the subsequent generations of young soldiers I mentored and who eventually surpassed me in their achievements.

RESEARCH INTERESTS

International Security

The study of threats across and through borders;

Critical Security Studies

The study of threats beyond military or physical ones using a diverse methodological toolkit;

Historical Sociology

The study of change in societies over time; and

Methodological Eclecticism

The use of varied methodological traditions in a complimentary instead of opposite manner.

 
 

Education

2017 - Present

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

PhD Candidate in International Relations

2014 - 2016

Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

Master in Art in Public and International Affairs

2009 - 2013

University of Ottawa

B.A. with Honours in Conflict Studies and Human Rights with minor in Political Science

 

RESEARCH PHILOSOPHY

"Alone we go faster but together we go further," -   canadian military expression

The purpose of this section is to be transparent about my vision of doing research. The discipline of security studies stands out as a field where methodological conflicts hover fiercely in the background between broadly speaking positivists and interpretivists; quantitative methods and qualitative methods; or explaining and understanding. If one does not take a stance in these debates, others will very quickly categorize one's research. 

While the labels critical versus conventional security studies might have been useful 20 years ago when the notion that security should focus on threats other than war, today I feel these labels have taken on the place of Regimental colours around which researchers from the different camps rally as a way to avoid engaging with methodological approaches they disagree with. The two are treated as incommensurable.

I think this is unhelpful. 

Instead, I adopt the view that they are complementary. Some research questions necessitate a particular methodological framework but almost always benefit from the other as well. How can one explain something without understanding? Explaining something is often the best way to demonstrate to oneself our understanding.

My research has often be characterized as critical even though I think self-identified critical scholars would find I do not really follow the critical standpoints. Alternatively, some would say I do mixed-methods by conducting quantitative causal analysis with qualitative case comparison. 

I engage in methodological eclecticism. I think it is better to have an open mind about what different perspectives can bring on the same question, and more importantly, to look at other's research from their own perspective. This is the best way, in my opinion, to learn the most from other people's work and cooperatively expand knowledge.

To me this translate to using treating most questions as having an underlying causal mechanism and constitutive relationship at play. Different sets of methods can uncover them, but ultimately they share a place within the narrative of making a strong case.

Finally, for me the label of security studies encompasses critical security studies. 

© 2020 Raphaël Leduc