Digital Politics

Drawing on insights from science and technology studies, “digital politics” looks at the power relations that govern the interaction between digital technologies and societies.

I currently hold an EU grant (2018-2020) titled “The Political Economy of Data: Comparing the Asian Giants” (PEDAS). Here I look at the international struggles between states and large corporations over the value derived from their citizens’ personal data. The project focuses on India and Indonesia with their massive digitally connected populations, but has broad scale comparison with Europe, China and the US.


In 2016, I organised an international conference on digital politics in Asia…



Digital Disruption in Asia: Methods and Issues

How are internet technologies assimilated and understood in Asia compared to other parts of the world?

In what ways does the internet challenge or reinforce established political and economic institutions in Asia?

What effect does the everyday use of digital technologies have on the development of language, religion and popular culture in the region?


…and put together an edited volume from some of the conference papers. My introduction to the special issue:


Hicks, Jacqueline, ‘Digital Disruption in Asia: Power, Technology and Society‘, Asiascape: Digital Asia 4 (1), 2017.

“While the conference’s title, “Digital Disruption in Asia”, focused on the impact of digital technologies in Asian societies, what emerged were much more complex stories detailing the different ways the technologies are used in their offline contexts.

This introduction traces these stories, identifying some common elements of digitality that range from constant connectivity, to mobility, speed, and the potential to break down social and even disciplinary boundaries.”


Digital Methods



I worked on a multi-disciplinary project, Elite Network Shifts, which used “digital methods”, like text mining and social network analysis, to find information about political elites from digitised media. It gave me a detailed understanding of what the methods can (and cannot) do, and a renewed appreciation of the difference between humanistic and scientific methods.


Hicks, Jacqueline (2015), ‘Turning digitised newspapers into networks of political elite‘, Asian Journal of Social Science 43: 567-587. Explains what some of the digital methods really entail.
Hicks, Jacqueline (2015) with Vincent Traag & Ridho Reinanda, ‘Old questions, new techniques: A research note on the computational identification of political elites‘, Comparative Sociology 14-3: 386-401. A new digital way to identify a population of political elites.


I presented about how the computational results could be folded into mainstream political analysis at international Asian studies conferences



The Ties that Bind: Indonesian Political Elite Attendance at Wedding Receptions, Association for Asian Studies (AAS), April 2, 2016.
Exploring Press Bias in Indonesia with Computational Techniques, International Convention of Asian Scholars (ICAS), July 8 2015.
Media Representations of Jokowi and Prabowo in the 2014 Election Campaign, European Association for Southeast Asian Studies (EuroSEAS), August 14, 2015.


…while remaining critically engaged with the digital methods community about the significance of context and interpretation:


Tool Criticism for Digital Humanities, Amsterdam, 22 May 2015.
Beyond the Digital Humanities: Final Network Event, Senate House London, 5 May 2015.
A Humanities Voice in Digital Humanities? 12 Feb 2014, eHumanities, Amsterdam.

What does the humanities bring to the digital humanities? Are there any methodological principles from the humanities that can be incorporated into the design of digital tools and environments? What could that look like in practice?

Digital humanities in 2015: notes on the development of a field
Reality bites: reflections on ground-truthing
Disciplining the digital