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Dr Florian Weigand is a political sociologist specialised in conducting primary research in conflict zones and other challenging environments. He is particularly interested in accessing and understanding the perspective of non-state actors and marginalised groups in such contexts, including armed groups, insurgents, resistance movements, criminal groups, victims of violent conflict and civil society activists.

Driven by this desire to access views that often remain hidden and are usually not considered by policy makers, academics and the wider public, he has interviewed members of many non-state armed groups in South Asia and Southeast Asia, including in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand. He uses the insights gained through his research to contribute to an understanding of political violence, armed conflict, non-state governance, smuggling economies and borderlands. Further, he works on the relationship between local and international dynamics, for instance, in the context of international military interventions, peacebuilding initiatives or humanitarian emergencies.

Florian is an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Conflict and Civil Society Research Unit at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and has received research funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). As a research consultant he has worked for organisations like the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Coffey International and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). Previously, Florian worked for the German development agency GIZ in different roles and projects in Germany, Belgium and Indonesia.

He did his PhD at the LSE for which he explored how political authorities can construct legitimacy in conflict zones. He did so through extensive research in Afghanistan, talking to various authorities, such as members of the Taliban, strongmen, government officials and community authorities, comparing their views to those of normal people living under their control. Florian also holds a MSc in Development Management from the LSE and a MSc in Global Governance and Diplomacy from the University of Oxford.