Dale is an ESRC NINE DTP Ph.D. candidate at Queen's University Belfast under the supervision of Dr Andrew Thomson, Professor Graham Walker and Professor Richard English. He previously completed both his BA in International Politics and Conflict Studies and his MA in Politics at Queen's, receiving the Frank Wright Prize for excellence during postgraduate study.
Dale's 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, Dale's 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.