Over the past few years, Van Klinken’s research has focused on the social embedding of the state in developing countries such as Indonesia. The lower middle class in provincial cities plays a key role in this regard. Van Klinken strives to assess this phenomenon from a comparative and historical-sociological perspective. His recent publications thus focus on the history of ethnic politics, corruption, citizenship and human rights in the Global South.
Van Klinken’s teaching and research activities at the UvA are centred around the social effects of global mobility – people, goods and ideas. He is exploring these phenomena in collaboration with the FMG ‘Moving Matters’ research group. Van Klinken is co-supervising two new research programmes, one on citizenship in the emerging democracy of Indonesia and the other (a programme within digital humanities) on elite networks during regime transitions in Indonesia. Both programmes employ doctoral candidates from the University of Amsterdam, and are coordinated by the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KILTV).
Van Klinken has worked as a researcher at the KILTV since 2003. Until 2012, he served as programme coordinator of the ‘In Search of Middle Indonesia’ research project, funded by the Scientific Programme Indonesia-Netherlands (SPIN) of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Van Klinken’s previous employers include the Australian Consortium for In-Country Indonesian Studies (Jogjakarta, Indonesia), Griffith University (Australia) and the University of Sydney (Australia). He has also taught physics at various universities in Indonesia and Malaysia.