Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

Contact Details

Dr Adam Tyson

Lecturer in Southeast Asian Politics

I joined POLIS in 2011 after working for universities in Canada, Indonesia and Malaysia. Drawing on my international experience, I am currently involved in a number of interdisciplinary research projects with colleagues in the UK as well as overseas, and I am responsible for the POLIS internationalisation agenda that builds research and education links with partners overseas.


Research Interests

My primary research agenda is to investigate the ways in which political actors test the limits of the permissible in both democratic and non-democratic settings. I am interested in the subvarieties of contentious politics, and my publications are based on empirical field research in countries such as democratic Indonesia and autocratic China. In recent years I have applied this research agenda to such diverse topics as the visual arts, ethnic conflicts and vigilantism, land claims and political ecology, and blasphemy and the sacred sphere.


I teach on the following modules:

  • Comparative Politics of Pacific Asia (level 2)
  • Politics of Contemporary China (level 2)
  • Political Transitions in Southeast Asia (MA)

PhD Supervision

I am able to supervise in the following areas:

  • Decentralisation and local politics
  • Ethnic struggles, identity and migration
  • Political violence
  • Censorship and rights

Research proposals on Indonesia and the Malay world are especially welcome, as well as from select countries in Pacific Asia (including China).

Key Publications

  • Gao and Tyson (2017) ‘Administrative reform and the transfer of authority to social organizations in China’ The China Quarterly (first view): 1–20.
  • Tyson and Purnomo (2017) ‘President Jokowi and the 2014 Obor Rakyat controversy in Indonesia’ Critical Asian Studies 49(1): 117–136.
  • Tyson and Wu (2016) ‘Ethnic conflict and the new legalism in China’ Nationalism and Ethnic Politics 22(4): 373–392.
  • Tyson (2015) 'Genocide documentary as intervention' Journal of Genocide Research 17(2): 177-199.
  • Tyson (2014) 'Multiple acts of killing' Critical Asian Studies 46(1): 157-161.
  • Tyson (2013) 'Vigilantism and violence in decentralized Indonesia: the case of Lombok'. Critical Asian Studies 45(2): 201-230
  • Tyson (2011) 'Being special, becoming indigenous: dilemmas of special adat rights in Indonesia'. Asian Journal of Social Science 39(5): 652–673.
  • Tyson (2011) 'Malaysian migration to Singapore: pathways, mechanisms and status' Malaysian Journal of Economic Studies 48(2): 131-145
  • Tyson (2011) 'Titik api: Harry Roesli, music and politics in Bandung, Indonesia'. Indonesia 91(April): 1–34.
  • Tyson (2010) Decentralization and Adat Revivalism in Indonesia: The Politics of Becoming Indigenous. Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Tyson (2009) 'Still striving for modesty: land, spirits, and rubber production in Kajang, Indonesia'. The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology 10(3): 200–215.
  • Tyson (2007) 'Dissecting the attitudes of political science students towards democracy and the 2004 elections in Indonesia'. Asian Journal of Political Science 15(3): 259–281. [Co-authored with Paul Tyson].
  • Tyson (2006) 'The enduring appeal of NGOs'. The Jakarta Post, 16 January.
  • Tyson (2004) 'Complacency: Indonesia's democratic deficit'. The Jakarta Post, 26 May.

Media Contact Areas

  • Politics of Indonesia, Malaysia

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