Research  Themes

Motivated by a fundamental concern with social justice and a rather random, but unexpectedly deep, connection with Indonesia, I’ve researched and written on several general themes within politics.  As my research has moved between theory and practice, and my professional life between academia, international development and journalism, I’ve organized all my articles and reports thematically below.

Political Economy of Governance


A corrupt, autocratic government was brought down by street protests in Indonesia in 1998, piquing my interest in how a simultaneous economic and political crisis would affect the relations of corruption. One PhD thesis later, I returned to Indonesia to work on the ground in anti-corruption and governance projects.

Political Elite


While living in Jakarta, I also spent some time writing political and economic analysis of current developments for a political risk consultancy, and later as a freelance journalist.

I later returned to studying political elites in my academic work at KITLV.

Political Islam


After writing so many stories on political elite manoeuvers while in Jakarta, I wanted to develop a deeper understanding of Indonesia’s politics, and began to study the country’s ideological currents. This ended up as a piece on the political economy of Islamic parties.

Working for Amnesty International, I was deeply moved by meeting some members of a religious minority who lived in fear of violence. Again, seeking a deeper understanding of their plight, I wrote a piece on the structure of religious authority in Islam.

Digital Politics

Digital Asia Articles/Activities

The idea of the KITLV project was to use text mining and social network analysis on digitised media to find information about Indonesian elite coalitions.  This led to a great deal of reflection on “digital methods” and their value in the social sciences.

As the project stalled, I took my research in the direction of digital politics – the interaction of technology and society in Asia.