Rubinstein is an anthropologist with expertise in political and medical anthropology and in social science history and research methods. His expertise concerns issues of multilateral cooperation, peacekeeping, and stability operations, disaster response, health inequalities and infectious diseases.
In political anthropology, Rubinstein’s work focuses on cross-cultural aspects of conflict and dispute resolution, including negotiation, mediation and consensus building. He is an originator of the field of the anthropology of peacekeeping. Since 1985, he has conducted empirical research and policy studies in this field. He examines the ways that the success of peace operations depends upon cultural considerations, and how organizational and institutional cultures can facilitate or frustrate coordination in peace operations. Rubinstein has collaborated on policy applications of his work with the International Peace Academy, the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, and the United States Army Peacekeeping Institute.
As a medical anthropologist, Rubinstein focuses on conflict and health, disparities in access to health care and the implications of those disparities for the health of populations, and on the integration of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. He has developed community-based health interventions in Egypt and Atlanta. Rubinstein has collaborated on health policy issues with the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Carter Center, the Georgia Department of Physical Health, and the Onondaga County Health Department.
Rubinstein’s work has been supported by grants from more than 20 foundations and agencies and he has published more than 100 articles in journals and books. He is the former director of The Maxwell School’s Program on the Analysis and Resolution of Conflicts (now renamed the Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration).
His work has been recognized by the American Public Health Association with the Victor Sidel and Barry Levy Award for Peace, and the American Anthropological Association awarded him the Robert B. Textor and Family Prize for Excellence in Anticipatory Anthropology for developing the anthropology of peace, security, and human rights.