Dissertation/Book Project

The Threat of Small Things: Patterns of Repression and Mobilization Against Micro-Sized Groups in Indonesia

Events Map of Anti-Ahmadiyah Mobilization and Repression in Indonesia (author’s data)

Events Map of Anti-Ahmadiyah Mobilization and Repression in Indonesia (author’s data)

My dissertation investigates an oft-overlooked puzzle in the literature on ethnic and religious conflict: conflict involving groups constituting less than 1% of the population (“micro-sized groups”). Why, given their economic and political insignificance, do micro-sized groups become targets of mobilization and repression? I argue that the threat of micro-sized groups is constitutive and that this constitutive threat resonates when it is publically visible. Micro-sized groups thus become seen as a threat to the larger ethnic, religious, or national group when 1) the micro-sized group poses a visible constitutive threat and 2) when political entrepreneurs are incentivized to amplify these threats for their own interests. Drawing on archival and interview data collected over 17 months of fieldwork, I develop my argument through the case of the Ahmadiyah sect in Indonesia. By identifying why and how micro-sized groups come to be seen as threats, this paper shows that threat perception is not only about material interests and resources, but is also tied to public display and group visibility.


ARTICLES (Peer Reviewed)

“Informal Networks and Religious Intolerance: How Clientelism Incentivizes the Discrimination of the Ahmadiyah in Indonesia.” 2018. Citizenship Studies, vol 22, no. 2, pp. 191-207. [Indonesian Translation 2019 from Yayasan Pustaka Obor]

 “The De-Escalation of Violence and the Political Economy of Peace Mongering: Evidence from Maluku, Indonesia” (with Alexandre Pelletier). 2017. South East Asia Research, vol. 25, no. 4, pp. 325-341.

Policy papers & commentary

“Indonesia’s 2019 General Election: Democracy in Retreat?” Forthcoming. Asian Politics and Policy.

“A Threat to Stability? Islamic Extremism and Fundamentalism in Indonesia” (with Jacques Bertrand). 2015. Canadian Institute for Governance and Innovation Paper Series No.95. 

book reviews

Review of Becoming Better Muslims: Religious Authority and Ethical Improvement in Aceh, Indonesia by David Kloos. 2019. Reading Religion: A Publication of the American Academy of Religion.

Other Publications

“A Posture of Active Reflexivity: Learning from Lee Ann Fujii’s Approach to Research" (with Aarjen Glas). 2018. Qualitative and Multi-Methods Research, vol 16, pp. 53-55.

Manuscripts in pREPARATION*

"The Threat of Small Things: The Occupation of Public Space and the Persecution of Micro-Sized Groups in Indonesia." Job Market Paper.

“Towards Active Reflexivity: Positionality and Practice in the Production of Knowledge” (with Aarjen Glas). Revise and Resubmit at PS: Political Science.

“Reflexivity and Research Assistants: How the Social Location of Research Assistants Shapes the Production of Knowledge” (with Syahar Banu). In Progress.