I am a political geographer studying conflict transformation, peacebuilding, and the politics of international development. My work takes a grounded, qualitative approach to three themes:
- Conceptualising the postcolonial state from its peripheries. I see conflict not as evidence of state failure, but as part of a process of state-making, particularly in areas with an entrenched colonial history.
- The politics of development. Despite decades of criticism, the international development remains a salient force in the world economy. I am interested in how international development has transforms over time, how it is contested, and how it shapes power relations in war-affected areas.
- Non-state actors in state-society relations. I investigate how rebel groups and various civilian actors - encompassing NGOs, civil society organisations, and women's associations - are critical to social life and social reproduction, even in times of war.
I am currently working on publishing my doctoral thesis, which I completed in 2021 at the University of Oxford. Using ethnographic research, my thesis discussed how an influx of aid into Myanmar (2012-2021) transformed the relationships between state, civil society actors, and rebel actors in Karen State, where the Karen National Union (KNU) and the Myanmar government have been at war for more than seventy years.
- Loong, S. (2019) The neoliberal borderscape: neoliberalism's effects on the social worlds of migrants along the Thai-Myanmar border. Political Geography, 74. 102035.
- Loong, S. (2018) ‘This country, law very strong’: Securitization beyond the border in the everyday lives of Bangladeshi migrant workers in Singapore. Geoforum, 90: 11-19.
- Loong, S. (2021) Hope and heartbreak: Karen communities in the wake of the coup. Tea Circle: A Forum for New Perspectives on Burma/Myanmar, 4 February 2021. [link]
- Loong, S. (2020) Decolonial worldmaking, Burmese independence, and the Karen struggle. Tea Circle: A Forum for New Perspectives on Burma/Myanmar, 13 August 2020. [link]
- Loong, S. (2019) Notes from the Salween Peace Park. New Mandala, 27 May 2019. [link]
Please see my personal webpage for more of my publications, including commentaries and reports.