Berenschot, Prof. dr. Ward

Ward Berenschot is a senior researcher at KITLV, studying contemporary politics in Indonesia and India. His work focuses on the role of money and informality in election campaigns, while a second field of research concerns the character of civil society and citizenship in democratizing countries. He has also been involved in efforts to promote legal aid in Indonesia, particularly in relation to land conflicts sparked by palm oil expansion.

Berenschot studied political science at the University of Amsterdam, where he also obtained his PhD cum laude with a dissertation on Hindu-Muslim violence in India. He is the author of Riot Politics: Hindu-Muslim Violence and the Indian State (Hurst/Columbia University Press, 2011) and Democracy for Sale: Elections, Clientelism and the State in Indonesia (Cornell University Press, 2019) as well as various articles on governance, access to justice, citizenship and religious conflict.

At KITLV, Berenschot has coordinated a KNAW funded research program on Citizenship in Indonesia, as well as an NWO funded program on Clientelism and Election Campaigns in Indonesia. Together with Wageningen University and Andalas University, he is currently working on a new research project on palm oil conflicts in Indonesia, funded with a grant from NWO and the Indonesian Ministry of Research and Technology. He teaches courses on the politics and economy of Asia at Leiden University and the University of Amsterdam.


Read Ward’s blogs here:

Selected Publications

With Edward Aspinall, Democracy for sale: Elections, clientelism and the state in Indonesia. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2019. (See reviews in New York Review of Books and Asian Studies Review).

With Peter Mulder, ‘Explaining Regional Variation in Local Governance: Clientelism and State-Dependency in Indonesia’, World Development 122: 233-44, 2019.

‘The political economy of clientelism: A comparative study of Indonesia’s patronage democracy’, Comparative Political Studies 51-12: 1563-93, 2018.

With Gerry van Klinken, ‘Informality and citizenship: The everyday state in Indonesia’, Journal of Citizenship Studies, 22-2, 2018.

With Retna Hanani & Prio Sambodho, ‘Brokers and citizenship: Access to health care in Indonesia’, Journal of Citizenship Studies 22-2, 2018.

‘Incumbent Bureaucrats: Why Elections Undermine Civil Service Reform in Indonesia’,  Public Administration and Development 38-4: 135-43, 2018.

With Retna Hanani & Prio Sambodho, ‘Brokers and Citizenship: Access to Health Care in Indonesia’, Journal of Citizenship Studies 22-2, 2018.

With Henk Schulte Nordholt &  Laurens Bakker, Citizenship and Democratization in Southeast Asia. Leiden: Brill, 2016. (Edited volume.)

‘The Spatial Distribution of Riots: Patronage and the Instigation of Communal Violence in Gujarat, India’, World Development 39-2: 221-30, 2011.

Riot Politics: India’s Hindu-Muslim Violence and the Indian State.  London: Hurst/Colombia University Press, 2011. (See reviews in New Republic, Hindustan Times, The Hindu and Commonwealth and Comparative Politics)