The paper explores discourses and practices of security in Indonesia. It does so with the aim of drawing out the tensions between Indonesian security dynamics and more emancipatory interpretations of critical security in which violence and social order are held to be antithetical to each other. It asks whether it is possible to negotiate these tensions in a way that goes beyond merely offering descriptive accounts of other security realities. I argue there is a need to engage with and understand complex security dynamics on their own terms, and to develop new lines of thinking and analysis that the cross cultural study of security both requires and is generative of. In this endeavor there is value to be had from aggregating the reflexive inclination of both anthropology and critical security approaches in international relations to generate new possibilities for thinking about ‘security’. In conclusion, I suggest that the model of security contestation provides a possible solution to ethical implications of studying logics of security at odds with the implicit progressivism of critical security studies.


About the Presenter

Lee Wilson is currently based at the Global Change Institute, and works on conflict and security, governance and local politics in Asia and the Pacific. Current research projects include an examination of civil militarisation and communal security practices in Indonesia.  In Papua New Guinea he has worked on issues of governance and public policy, communal conflict, and gender based violence. Recent publications include a monograph on nationalism and power in Indonesia as refracted through the prism of martial arts, 'Martial Arts and the Body Politic in Indonesia' (Brill 2015), and he has published widely in journals such as Body and Society, The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Security, Conflict and Development, The Australian Journal of International Affairs, Culture, Health and Sexuality, and Social Science and Medicine.  In the UK he has worked on interdisciplinarity and innovation in the UK economy across the public sector, business and academia, and co-authored a highly cited report for the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts on the link between interdisciplinary research and innovation. He maintains a strong commitment to breaking down the barriers to collaborating in the production and sharing of knowledge across diverse domains.

About Anthropology Working Papers

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The Working Papers in Anthropology seminar series provides a forum for dissemination of anthropological research and ideas among UQ scholars and invited researchers. All students are invited to attend the series and postgraduate students, from honours upwards, are invited to present their research. The aim is to provide opportunities for students, staff and those from outside UQ, to present and discuss their work in an informal environment.

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