Finalist 2018 Research
Ian Wilson has brought new insights to the understanding of highly contentious political issues that can be all too easily reduced to simplistic and polarizing accounts. He has penetrated well beyond appearances and orthodoxies, undertaking extensive fieldwork and adopting a political economy approach to investigate gangs, militias, street politics, informal economies and infrastructure politics, religious radicalism and counter-terrorism.
His book, The Politics of Protection Rackets in Post-New Order Indonesia (Routledge 2015), steers analysis away from stereotypes about the relationship between religion, politics and violence, to expose the underlying political economy of much organised violence. His numerous other academic essays similarly foster new appreciation of the complex sets of interests that often lie behind urban conflicts and religious and political extremism.