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Jacqueline Hicks

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellow, Faculty of Social Sciences

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Biography

Jacqueline Hicks is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow based jointly at the Asia Research Institute and Computer Science Department of Nottingham University. She has taught various topics on Southeast Asia at SOAS, Leiden University and the University of Hamburg. She was a visiting fellow at Cornell's Southeast Asia Program and a researcher at The Royal Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Leiden. In addition to her academic work, she lived in Indonesia for eight years, working in political risk analysis and journalism, and consulting on legal and judicial reform, human rights and governance policy for international organisations including the UNDP, UNODC, the EC and Amnesty International.

Expertise Summary

Politics of Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia.

Digital Politics in Asia.

Digital Research Methods.

Corruption and Governance.

Politics and Practice in International Development (including project design and evaluation).

Politics of Islam in Indonesia.

Teaching Summary

Jacqueline Hicks has taught on Southeast Asian politics, history and society, the politics of international development, digital politics, research methods and international relations.

BA Modules

Southeast Asian Politics and Society [SOAS London, UK].

People and Power in Asia [co-taught SOAS London, UK].

International Politics of Asia and States [co-taught SOAS London, UK].

International Relations [Universitas Parahyangan, Indonesia].

Politics of Southeast Asia [co-taught Leiden University, Netherlands].

Culture and Society in Traditional Southeast Asia [University of Hamburg, Germany].

MA Modules

Research Methods [SOAS London, UK].

Southeast Asian Politics and Society [SOAS London, UK].

Power, Technology and Society in Asia [University of Hamburg, Germany].

The Politics and Practice of International Development [University of Hamburg, Germany].

Research Summary

An International Political Economy of Personal Data

We have just reached the end of a relatively settled period of internet economics where the giant tech firms, such as Google and Facebook, grew rich harvesting the personal data of their users. Now their business model is being challenged from two directions: (1) regulations like the EU's 2018 GDPR which effectively returns ownership of personal data to the individual user rather than the website (2) computer scientists developing software for decoupling personal data from the websites used, enabling individuals to control and sell their own data. My research looks ahead to the repercussions of these changes for two emerging economies with massive online populations and the largest reserves of this new resource - Indonesia and India. Are we heading towards a new wave of unequal exploitation, a kind of digital colonialism?

Recent Publications

  • 2019. All articles can be accessed at: https://jacquelinehicks.org/
  • HICKS, JACQUELINE, 2018. Review of Digital Indonesia: Connectivity and Divergence by Edwin Jurriens and Ross Tapsell (eds) ASIASCAPE: DIGITAL ASIA. 5(3),
  • HICKS, JACQUELINE, 2017. ‘Digital disruption in Asia: power, technology and society‘ ASIASCAPE: DIGITAL ASIA. 4(1),
  • HICKS, JACQUELINE, 2016. An Asianist’s Eye on the Digital INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ASIAN STUDIES NEWSLETTER. 73,

Past Research

Digital Politics and Research Methods

I worked with computer scientists using 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. Towards the end of the project, I expanded my research to the field of "digital politics" which looks at the power relations that govern the interaction between digital technologies and societies. This led to my latest research on markets in personal data.

Political Islam in Indonesia

During a writing fellowship at Cornell University, I researched why Islamic political parties are relatively unsuccessful in today's Indonesia. Taking a political economy perspective, I showed how the social welfare functions of the two giant Islamic civil society organisations traditionally helped channel votes to their associated political parties. Now that some of those functions in health and education have been taken over by the state, this has weakened ties between Islamic parties and the populace, undermining their electoral popularity.

After working for Amnesty International in Indonesia, I was deeply moved by meeting members of a religious minority, Ahmadiyah, who were violently threatened by some elements of fundamentalist Islam in the country. Inspired by Bourdieu's view of religion as a field of competitive struggle to gain symbolic capital and authority, I showed how the charge of heresy is used to consolidate political and religious authority following the breakdown of an authoritarian regime.

Corruption

My Phd detailed changes to the relationships political and economic powerholders in the wake of a major financial crisis in Indonesia. Using data on oil and gas, timber and electricity contracts, and debt negotiations, I found that governance reforms at the institutional level do not work without attention to corruption's deeper structural causes. In the case of Indonesia these causes are rooted in the politics of ethnic and national identities. I then worked designing and evaluating anti-corruption projects in Indonesia, and writing on governance reform for a political analysis magazine.

School of Politics and International Relations

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