Adnan’s research covers both international relations and comparative politics. His ongoing work examines two levels of political activity: the governance role senior bureaucrats play during times of political crises, and the deterrence role played by regional organizations against rising hegemonic powers in south and southeast Asia.
Within comparative politics, Adnan studies how institutions and specifically the bureaucrats that staff those institutions, impact governance during times of political crises in nascent democracies. His dissertation project addresses the question of how such countries are governed during times of political uncertainty. He theorizes that the business of governance continues unhindered during such times only if the bureaucracy is high quality and it operates under autonomous institutions. Adnan further posits that unconsolidated polities require high quality bureaucracy as a basic requirement to consolidate over time.
In the field of international relations, Adnan investigates the role of regional organizations and diplomatic strategies of small states. His research on regional organizations details how such entities strive to remain relevant in an ever-changing international system by reframing their functionality. His forthcoming paper in the Asian Journal of Political Science explains how organizations like Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) reorient themselves to remain pertinent as cultural and diplomatic alliances in the face of large developmental initiatives like the Chinese belt and road initiative (BRI). His work on small state diplomacy examines the strategies countries like Taiwan and Qatar employ to gain international recognition as reliable partners and maverick states. His working paper on the subject maps out diplomatic strategies to present a framework for successful small state diplomacy. He argues that small states leverage their specialization in specific fields to gain global recognition and legitimacy as reliable partners.
In addition to his current research agenda, he is interested in pursuing interdisciplinary research on issues like public policy governance, diplomatic and foreign policy decision making in south and southeast Asia as well as exploring the notion that powerful militaries act like hegemonic political parties in nascent democracies.
Tweeting the Cultural Divide: When Social Media Offensiveness Works for the Right Wing – Co-Authored with Rebekah Dowd. Under Review
Diplomatic Validation Through Cultural Power: Taiwan’s Southern Strategy – Working Paper
Sustaining Democratization: Coalition Building Through Clientelistic Policy Appeal – Co-authored with Gulcan Seglam. Working Paper