Ian Wilson  from Murdoch University in Perth Australia.

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    Dr Ian Wilson
    BA Hons (Murd), Phd Murd.

    Lecturer, Research Fellow, Asia Research Centre

    About me

    I am a Senior Lecturer in Politics and Terrorism and Count-terrorism Studies and Academic Chair of the Global Security program. I am a Research Fellow at the Asia Research Centre. My research interests focus upon Indonesian politics and society, in particular the political economy of organised crime, vigilantism street authority and political violence. I also have an interest in urban politics, in particular infrastructural politics, urban social movements and the political agency of socially and economically marginal groups.

    I have collaborated with various organisations and institutions on joint governance , research projects and consultancies, such as Indonesian Corruption Watch, AusAID, DFAT and Bappenas.

    Previously I worked as a translator and interpreter for Indonesian language, including with AusAID, DFAT and The Red Cross, with a specialization in medical translation.



    Teaching area

    Main teaching areas
    • Asian Studies
    • Security Studies
    • Development studies
    • Politics

    Units taught

    • POL213: Politics and Security in Southeast Asia
    • POL234: Terrorism in a Globalized World
    • SWM643: Political Violence
    • SWM511 Theories of Development
    • AST102: Introduction to Asian Cultures
    • IND271: Media, culture and politics in Indonesia
    Open Universities Australia
    • PTR213: Politics and Security in Southeast Asia

    Research areas

    • Indonesian politics and society
    • Urban sociology
    • Urbanisation and Social Change
    • Gangs, militias and vigilantism
    • Poor people’s social movements
    • Critical Criminology and Security Studies
    • Infrastructural politics

    Current projects


    -The political agency of the urban poor and ‘market citizenship’ in Indonesia

    - Urbanisation, ‘quiet encroachment’ and the growth of autonomous communities.

    - The politics of infrastructure.


    Awards and grants

    Grants and consultancies
    • (2017-18) Australia Indonesia Partnership for Justice (2017-18) Cardno/ Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
    •  (2017) Vertical Politics (2017-2018) Gadjah Mada University International Collaboration Research grant scheme.
    • (2016) Against deforestation:  the formation of environmental movements in ASEAN (2016-2017)Gadjah Mada University International Collaboration.
    • (2013) Australian Research Council Discovery Project, ‘Remaking the poor: poor people’s responses to donors’ market citizenship programs in Southeast Asia’, with Prof. Caroline Hughes, Dr Jane Hutchison and Prof. Andrew Rosser.
    • (2010) Australia Netherlands Research Collaboration, funding for ‘Researching Spaces of Non-existence’ workshop with Dr Barak Kalir (University of Amsterdam) April 2010, ($31.450).
    • (2009) Australia-Indonesia Governance Research Project, ’Governing Favours’, with Luky Djani and Teten Masduki (Indonesian Corruption Watch), March-December 2009 ($61,545).
    • (2009) Australian Development Research Awards, ‘Achieving Sustainable Demand for Governance; Addressing Political Dimensions of Change’ with Prof. Richard Robison, Dr Caroline Hughes, Dr Jane Hutchison, Dr Nico Warouw, Dr Aris Mundayat,  April 2009-October 2010 ($289,400).
    •  (2007) Australia-Indonesia Governance Research Project, ‘Evaluating models for the effective governance of the informal security sector in Indonesia in the context of broader state building processes’, with Prof. Richard Robison and Prof. Adrianus Meliala, June 2007- February 2007, ($64,420).
    • (2006) United States Institute of Peace research grant, ‘An Investigation of Ethnic Gang Violence in Post-Suharto Indonesia’, with Assoc. Prof David Brown, April 2005- April 2007 (US$44,690)


    • 2018, Finalist in the Research category of the Australia Indonesia Awards
    • 2018 Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award for POL338: Politics and Security in Southeast Asia
    • 2015 Nominated by students for Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Learning and Teaching
    • 2014 Nominated by students for Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Learning and Teaching

    Events and speaking engagements

    Conference papers, workshops and Seminars

    • (2019) ‘The political economy of polarisation: militias, street authority and the 2019 elections’, Future of Indonesian Politics Symposium, ISEAS Yusof Ishak Institute, National University of Singapore, 10-11 July
    • (2019) ‘Populism and the politics of the urban poor: the case of Jakarta’, International Studies Association Annual Convention, Toronto,  April
    • (2019) ‘Power, Politics, Predictions: Indonesian Presidential Election 2019′, Indonesia Institute, 3 March
    • (2017)  ‘Jakarta Gubernatorial Elections: outcomes and implications’, ANU Indonesia Project and Asia Research Centre Indonesia Study Group (ISG) Roadshow, 27 April. http://www.newmandala.org/video-debrief-jakarta-election/
    • (2016)’ The politics of moral panic in Indonesia’, Understanding Indonesia conference, Charles Darwin University, 17-18 June
    • (2016) ‘Mapping gangster politics in Indonesia’, public seminar, Epikurian Cafe, Jakarta, 4 February.
    • (2015) ‘Politik warga miskin kota: market citizenship atau communal citizenship?’, Urabn Research Caucus, Department of Social and Political Science, Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia, 7 December
    • (2015) ‘The politics of protection rackets in Indonesia’, public seminar, Department of International Relations, Bina Nusantara University, Jakarta, Indonesia, 30 November.
    • (2015) ‘Urban struggle: poor people’s politics in Jokowi-Ahok’s Jakarta’, Institute for Strategic Initiatives, Jakarta, 26 November.
    • (2015), Key note address: ‘Negotiating precariousness: opportunity circulation and changing patterns of patron-clientelism in an Indonesian mega-city’, Workshop on Demographic changes in Southeast Asia: Regional and international ramifications: gender and generational transformations , University of Copenhagen, 16 April
    • (2015) ‘The Politics of Protection Coercion, Capital and Resistance in an Indonesian Megacity’, Global Dynamics Guest Lecture, Roskilde University, 15 April.
    • (2015) ‘Between elimination and incorporation: the political economy of counter-terrorism and political Islam in Indonesia’, India-Australia Dialogue, International Conference on “Public Policy, Global Governance and Security”, O.P. Jindal Global University.
    • (2014) The politics of protection rackets: preman, political entrepreneurship and electoral democracy in Indonesia’, Institute of International Studies,  Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, 26 November.
    • (2013), ‘The Political Ecology of Islamic Vigilantism’, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, National University of Singapore, 29 November.
    • (2013) ‘From Bela Diri to Bela Bangsa:  local knowledge, state nationalism and the transformation of the pencak silat body’, Nusantara Philosophy conference, University of Gadjah mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, November 12.
    • (2013), ’The spatial inscription of power on the mega-city: the politics of encroachment, ‘enclavisation’ and the urban poor in Jakarta’, Australian Political Studies Association Annual Conference, Murdoch University.
    • (2012), ‘Political Agency and the Urban Poor in Indonesia’, Special Seminar ‘Indonesia from Three Perspectives’, Institute of Developing Economies and the Japan External Trade Organisation, Tokyo, Japan, 9 November
    • (2012), ‘Jakarta 2012: anti-urban poor campaigns, spatial politics in the megacity and the growth of ‘autonomous’ communities’, University of Victoria, Melbourne, 13 September.
    • (2012) ‘Pang Nat Det!: punk and radicalism in Indonesia’, Under The Hammer Activist Arts Hub, Melbourne, 15 September.
    • (2011), ‘Kekerasan atas nama moral: studi tentang militansi Islam di Indonesia’ (Violence in the name of morality: the study of Islamic militancy in Indonesia, Jakarta State University, Jakarta, 21 December
    • (2010), ‘Negotiating ethical ‘dangers’ in the field: research amongst gangs and militias in Jakarta’, ‘Researching spaces of non-existence Workshop’, Murdoch University, 26 August
    • (2010), ‘The streets belong to who?: Governance and the Urban Informal Sector in Jakarta’, The Elephant in the Room: Politics and the Development Problem, Murdoch University, 13-14 December
    •  (2009) with Teten Masduki and Luky Djani, ‘Governing Favours: an investigation into the impact of clientism upon budget allocation’, Policy workshop, Gajah Mada University, Yogyakarta, 19 October.
    • (2009) ‘Democracy’s Gangsters?: Preman, political mobilisation and the 2009 elections’, 27th Indonesia Update, Australian National University, Canberra, 9-10 October.
    • (2009) ‘Gang Governance: anti-gang campaigns and the management of racketeering in Jakarta, Indonesia’, New Modes of Governance and Security Challenges in the Asia Pacific Conference, Murdoch University, 12-13th February.
    •  (2008) ‘Racket Regimes and Democracy in Indonesia’, Contesting Indonesia Seminar Series, Centre on Asia and Globalisation, National University of Singapore, 6 November.
    •  (2008) ‘Thugs in Robes: morality racketeering, Islam and the new vigilantism’ book launch for ‘Expressing Islam: Islamic Life and Politics in Indonesia’, Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Jakarta, 21 August.
    • (2007) ‘Regulating the Informal Security Sector’, Australia Indonesia Governance Research Partnership Policy Research Forum, Four Seasons Hotel, Jakarta, 3 December.
    • (2007) ‘Policy workshop: Evaluating Models for the Effective Governance of the Informal Security Sector’, University of Indonesia and Indonesian National Police College, Jakarta, 5-8 November.
    •  (2007) ‘As long as it’s Halal: Islamic Preman in Jakarta’, 25th Indonesia Update, Australian National University, Canberra, 10-11 September.
    • (2006) ‘Peran Australia dalam Perkembangan Good Governance di Asia Tenggarra’ (The Role of Australia in the Development of ‘Good Governance’ in Southeast Asia), InDemo seminar series, Jakarta, 28 July.
    •  (2006) ‘The Battle for Hearts, Minds and Money: Violent Entrepreneurs, Vigilantes and Gangs in Jakarta’, Australian National University, Indonesian Studies, 20 September.
    • (2006) ‘Decentralization, Democracy and the Privatization of Violence in Indonesia’, Australian National University, Department of Political and Social Change Seminar Series, 18 September.
    • (2005) ‘Sebagai Penganti Negara: Peran Ormas di Indonesia Pasca-Orba’, (In Lieu of the State: The role of Social Organizations in Post-New Order Indonesia), InDemo seminar series, Jakarta, 25 August.
    •  (2005) ‘The Political Economy of Racketeering: Vigilantes, ‘Violent Entrepreneurs’ and the Privatisation of Security in Jakarta’, Indonesia Council Open Conference, Flinders University, Adelaide, September.
    •  (2005) ‘Vigilante Violence in Post-Authoritarian States: The Case of Indonesia and Russia’, Indonesian Journal of Anthropology Symposium, University of Indonesia, 13-15 July.
    Workshops Organised
    • (2011) ‘Researching spaces of non-existence: methodological issues‘, Sponsored by the Australia Netherlands research Collaboration, Jakarta, 23-24 June.
    • (2010) ‘Researching spaces of non-existence: methodological issues’ Sponsored by the Australia Netherlands research  Collaboration, Murdoch University, 26-27 August
    • (2010), ‘Governance and the Urban Informal Sector in Indonesia workshop’, Atlet Century Hotel, Jakarta,  19 April
    • (2009) ‘Governing Favors: a workshop on the impact of clientism upon budget allocation’, incollaboration with Indonesian Corruption Watch and the Anti-Corruption Unit, Gajah Mada University, Yogyakarta, 19 October.
    • (2007)   ‘Evaluating Models for the Effective Governance of the Informal Security Sector’, in collaboration with the University of Indonesia, Indonesian National Police College, Jakarta, 5-8 November.



    Doctoral and masters supervisions

    Phd students supervised:
    • Fabio Scarpello, ‘Politics, power, resources and the political economy of plural policing’. Passed, 2015
    • Melissa Johnston, ‘The local turn, aspirational decentralisation and resource distribution: An investigation into community perceptions of Timor Leste’s redistribution of oil wealth’. Passed 2018
    • Nurul Aini, ‘Understanding Local Contestation: Body, Security, and Negotiating Citizenship in Natural Disaster Prone Area (The case of State, Local Kingship and Community in the Mount Merapi, Central Java, Indonesia)‘. Commenced 2013
    • Hikmawan Saefullah, Underground music and Islamic politics in post-authoritarian Indonesia’,Commenced 2014
    • Rebecca Meckelburg, Commenced 2015
    • Sophie Lemiere (external examiner, Sciences-Po, Paris) – passed




    • Wilson, I., (2015),The Politics of Protection Rackets in Post-New Order Indonesia: Coercive Capital, Authority and Street Politics,Routledge.


    • Wilson, I., (2014),Morality Racketeering: Vigilantism and Populist Islamic Militancy in Indonesia,In: Between Dissent and Power: The Transformation of Islamic Politics in the Middle East and Asia, Palgrave Macmillan, pages 248 to 274.
    • Wilson, I., (2012),The "Biggest Cock": masculinity, violence and authority amongst Jakarta's gangs,In: Men and Masculinities in Southeast Asia, Routledge, pages to.
    • Wilson, I., (2012),Testing the boundaries of the state: gangs, militias, vigilantes and violent entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia,In: Routledge handbook of Southeast Asian Politics, Routledge, pages 288 to 301.
    • Wilson, I., (2011),Reconfiguring rackets: racket regimes, protection and the state in post-New Order Jakarta,In: The State and Illegality in Indonesia, KITLV Press, pages 239 to 260.
    • Wilson, I., (2010),The Rise and Fall of Political Gangsters in Indonesian Democracy,In: Problems of Democratisation in Indonesia: Elections, Institutions and Society, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, pages 199 to 218.
    • Wilson, I., (2008),'As Long as It's Halal': Islamic Preman in Jakarta,In: Expressing Islam: Religious Life and Politics in Indonesia, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, pages 192 to 210.


    • Rosser, A., Wilson, I., (2012), Democratic Decentralisation and Pro-poor Policy Reform in Indonesia: The Politics of Health Insurance for the Poor in Jembrana and Tabanan, Asian Journal of Social Science, 40, 42891, pages 608 - 634.
    • Brown, D., Wilson, I., (2007), Ethnicized Violence in Indonesia: where criminals and fanatics meet, Nationalism & Ethnic Politics, 13, 3, pages 367 - 403.
    • Wilson, I., (2006), Continuity and Change: The changing contours of organized violence in post-New Order Indonesia, Critical Asian Studies, 38, 2, pages 265 - 297.


    • 2018, Politik Jatah Preman di Indonesia Pasca Orde-Baru: modal koersif, penguasa dan politik jalanan, Jakarta, Marjin Kiri Link
    • 2015, The Politics of Protection Rackets in Post-New Order Indonesia: coercive capital, authority and street politics, London: Routledge. Link

    Journal Articles

    • (Forthcoming-2019), ‘The political ecology of Islamic Vigilantism in Jakarta: the Defenders of Islam Front’, Review of Indonesian Studies, inaugural issue
    • 2012, with  Andrew Rosser, ‘Democratic Decentralisation and Pro-poor Policy Reform in Indonesia: The Politics of Health Insurance for the Poor in Jembrana and Tabanan’, Asian Journal of Social Sciences, 40 pp. 1-27.
    • 2007, with David Brown, ‘Ethnicized Violence in Indonesia: where criminals and fanatics meet’, co-written with David Brown, Journal of Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 367-403.
    • 2006, ‘Continuity and Change: the changing contours of organized violence in post-New Order Indonesia’, Critical Asian Studies, Vol. 38 No. 2, pp. 265-297.
    • 1999,  ‘Reog Ponorogo: spirituality, sexuality and power in a Javanese performance tradition’, Intersections: Gender, History and Culture in the Asian Context, Issue 2.http://intersections.anu.edu.au/issue2/Warok.html

    Book Chapters


    • (forthcoming 2020) with Hutchison, J, ‘Poor people’s politics in Southeast Asia’ in Hamieri, S. & Jones, L (eds.) in Carroll, T., Hameiri, S, Jones, L. (Eds.) Political Economy of Southeast Asia: Politics and Uneven Development under Hyperglobalisation, Palgrave Macmillan
    • 2019, ‘Urban Poor Activism and Political Agency in Post–New Order Jakarta’, in Dibley, T. (ed.), Activists in Transition Progressive Politics in Democratic Indonesia, Cornell University Press 
    • 2015, ‘ Resisting Democracy: Front Pembela Islam and Indonesia’s 2014 Elections’, in  Ulla Fionna (ed.), ISEAS Perspective: Watching the Indonesian Elections 2014, ISEAS: Singapore.
    • 2015, ‘Outlaw’s Paradise: Australian outlaw bikers, pre-crime regimes and the appeal of Bali, in Antje Missbach and Jemma Purdey’ (eds.), Linking People: Connections and encounters between Australians and Indonesians, RegioSpectra, pp.251-268.
    • 2014, ‘Morality racketeering:  vigilantism and populist Islamic militancy in Indonesia’ in Boo Teik, K., Hadiz, V. & Nakanishi, Y. (eds.), Between dissent and power: the transformations of Islamic politics in the Middle East and Asia, PalgraveMacmillan, pp.248-274
    • 2012, Testing the boundaries of the state:  gangs, vigilantes and violent entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia’, in Richard Robison (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Southeast Asian Politics, Routledge, London, pp. 288-302.
    • 2012, ‘The “Biggest Cock”: masculinity, violence and authority amongst Jakarta’s gangs’, in Lenore Lyons and Michelle Ford (eds.) Masculinities in Southeast Asia, Routledge Press, London, 121-138.
    • 2011, ‘Reconfiguring Rackets: Racket Regimes, Protection and the State in Post-New Order Indonesia’, in Gerry van Klinken and Edward Aspinall (eds.), The State and Illegality in Indonesia, KITLV Press, Leiden, pp. 239-260.
    • 2010, ‘The Rise and Fall of Political Gangsters in Indonesian Democracy’, in Edward Aspinal and Marcus Mietzner (eds.), Democracy in Practice: Campaigns, Parties and Parliaments, ISEAS Press, Singapore, pp. 199-218. ISBN: 978-981-4279-90-1
    • 2009, ‘Jakarta (Special Capital district)’, in Iem Brown (ed.), Territories of Indonesia, Territories of the world Series, Routledge, London, pp. 74-83.
    • 2008, ‘As long as it’s Halal: Islamic Preman in Jakarta’, in Greg Fealy andSally White (eds.), Expressing Islam: Islamic Life and Politics in Indonesia, ISEAS   Press, Singapore, pp. 192-210. ISBN: 9812308512

    Non-English Book Chapters 

    • 2017, ‘Teman dijadikan musuh’ in, Mulyanto, D. & Coen Husain Pontoh (eds.), Bela Islam atau Bela Oligarki? Pertalian Agama, Politik, dan Kapitalisme di Indonesia, Jakarta: Pustaka IndoPROGRESS, pg. 38-42.
    • 2012, ‘Selama caranya Halal’: Preman Islam di Jakarta, in Greg Fealy and Sally White (eds), Ustadz Seleb, Bisnis Moral &Fatwa Online: Ragam Ekspresi Islam Indonesia Kontemporer, Komunitas Bambu, Jakarta, pp.191-206.

    Policy reports

    • (2017) with Baker, J. Hutchison, J. Djani, ‘Applying a Political Economy Approach to the Australian Indonesian Partnership for Justice’, internal report produced for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
    • (2017), with Savirani, A, Basrianto, (2017), ‘Vertical Politics: The socio-economic and political impacts of vertical housing (rusunawa) in Jakarta and Yogyakarta’ UGM International Collaborative Research Grant Report
    • (2017), ‘The Political Economy of Rising Religious Intolerance in Indonesia’, a submission to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Foreign Policy White Paper 2017 Task force. http://dfat.gov.au/whitepaper/submissions/documents/170227-295-Dr-Ian-Wilson.PDF
    • 2011, with Andrew Rosser and Priyambudi Sulistiyanto, ‘The Politics of Free Public Services in Decentralised Indonesia’, Developmental Research Program Policy Paper 16.
    • 2010, ‘The streets belong to who?: Governance and the Urban Informal Sector in Jakarta, Indonesia’ in ‘The elephant in the room: politics and the development problem’, Asia Research Centre Policy Monograph, pp. 113-133.
    • 2007, co-authored with Luky Djani and Teten Masduki, ‘Governing Favours: An investigation of accountability mechanisms in local government budget allocation in Indonesia’, Australia-Indonesia Governance Research Partnership Policy Brief 8
    • 2007, Co-authored with Richard Robison and Adrianus Meliala, ‘Implications of the Informal Security Sector for Broader State Building Processes in Indonesia: Dilemmas for Policy and Governance’, Australia-Indonesia Governance Research Partnership Policy Paper.
    • 2007, Co-authored with  Richard Robison and Adrianus Meliala, ‘Governing the Ungovernable: dealing with the rise of informal security in Indonesia’, Asia Research Centre Policy Brief No.1, http://wwwarc.murdoch.edu.au/wp/pb1.pdf
    Policy Monograph
    Working Papers


    Other publications

    Book Reviews
    • 2007, ‘Jemma Purdey (2006), Anti-Chinese Violence in Indonesia, 1996–1999’, Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, vol.43(3).
    • 2004, ‘Challenging Authoritarianism in Southeast Asia: Comparing Indonesia and Malaysia’, Intersections; Gender History and Culture in the Asian Context, Issue 10 August http://intersections.anu.edu.au/issue10/wilson_review.html
    Published Translations
    • Soebadio Sastrosatomo (1997), New Era, New Leader: Badio Rejects the New Order Regime’s Manipulations (Era Baru, Pemimpin Baru: Badio Tolak Manipulasi Orde Baru) Guntur 49 Centre for Political Documentation, Jakarta.
    • Marjinal Collective (2013), ‘Idiot Love, Part 1′, (Indonesian Comic Book), Taring Babi Press.