Hugh McFarlane is currently a CSS PhD candidate. His dissertation investigates the social dynamics that allow violent non-state actors to displace government authority in urban neighborhoods.

An agent-based model tests the hypothesis that the emergence of alternatives to state authority at the local level can be modeled as a social exchange process. A comparative case study of Nairobi, Lagos, and Cape Town is performed using the model. Existing statistical data is combined with time-series analysis of media reporting to develop each case and for validation. Extended analysis of model behavior helps establish the range of conditions under which transitions to alternative authorities are likely.

Hugh holds a BS-Political Science (U.S. Naval Academy), a BS-Electrical Engineering (Univ. of Maryland), and an MS-Conflict Analysis and Resolution (George Mason Univ.). He has a broad range of work experience in south Asia, the Middle East and east Africa. His research interests include the durability of political institutions, political conflict, the political economy of cities, and urban systems analysis.