Ward Berenschot is a professor in comparative political anthropology at the University of Amsterdam and a senior researcher at KITLV. Employing a combination of up-close ethnographic fieldwork with quantitative techniques to study politics in India and Indonesia, his research focuses on the role of money and informality in election campaigns, while a second field of research concerns the character of citizenship and civil society in these countries. He is the author of Riot Politics: Hindu-Muslim Violence and the Indian State (Colombia University Press 2011) and Democracy for Sale: Elections, Clientelism and the State in Indonesia (with Edward Aspinall, Cornell University Press 2019) as well as several articles and on ethnic violence, governance, citizenship and legal aid. He has been engaged in efforts to strengthen legal aid in Indonesia, and is currently working on a book and a documentary on conflicts between palm oil companies and rural Indonesians. He teaches courses on political economy, political anthropology and historical comparative sociology at Leiden University and the University of Amsterdam.
His current research focuses on three main topics: land conflicts, campaign finance, and public opinion manipulation through social media. He coordinates a research collaboration (with Wageningen University and Universitas Andalas) that studies the activism of rural Indonesians against palm oil companies. With researchers at the University of Amsterdam and Universitas Diponegoro Berenschot works on a research project that studies how online ‘buzzers’ are used to manipulate public opinion in Indonesia. With Australitian National University he works on a project on village governance in Southeast Asia.
Andalas University, Wageningen University, Australian National University as well as several NGOs in Indonesia
Berenschot teaches courses on political economy, political anthropology and historical comparative sociology at Leiden University and the University of Amsterdam.
Berenschot supervises four Phd students.