Professor Arrington specializes in comparative politics, with a regional focus on the Koreas and Japan. Her research interests include law and social change, governance, civil society, social movements, policy-making processes, the media and politics, and qualitative methods. She is also interested in the international relations and security of Northeast Asia and transnational activism.
Her book, Accidental Activists: Victim Movements and Government Accountability in South Korea and Japan, was published by Cornell University Press in February 2016 and was selected to be part of the Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute publication series at Columbia University. It examines how people who claim to have suffered due to state wrongdoing or negligence hold their governments accountable and why some victim groups obtain more redress than others. Her research has also been published in Comparative Political Studies, Law & Society Review, Journal of East Asian Studies, Pacific Affairs, Asian Survey, and the Washington Post, among other outlets.
Professor Arrington is currently writing a book analyzing lawyers' roles in policy-making and the growing prominence of litigation, the courts, and rights language in Japanese and Korean politics. The book, which is under contract with Cambridge University Press's Studies in Law and Society, focuses on policies related to persons with disabilities and tobacco control. Other ongoing projects explore legal institutional change, how activist lawyers organize, disability-related protests, and litigation as a form of political participation in Korea and Japan.
Professor Arrington earned a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, an MPhil from the University of Cambridge, and a B.A. from Princeton University. She was an advanced research fellow in the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations at Harvard University in 2010-2011. During the 2011-2012 year, she was a member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. She is also a member of the Mike and Maureen Mansfield Foundation’s U.S.-Japan Network for the Future and its U.S.-Korea Scholar-Policymaker Nexus. In 2017-2018, she was a fellow at the Program in Law and Public Affairs at Princeton University. She was named a Social Science Research Council Research Fellow in 2020-2021.