Johan Lindquist
Johan Lindquist

Telephone: +46 (0)8 16 22 27
Room: B610
Office hours: By appointment

Johan Lindquist received his BA degree in Cultural Anthropology from Uppsala University in 1994, and his PhD degree in Social Anthropology from Stockholm University in 2002. Between 2002 and 2006 Lindquist was a postdoctoral fellow under the auspices of the Swedish School of Advanced Asia Pacific Studies (SSAAPS). He has been a visiting fellow at Harvard University during 1996-1997, 1999-2000, and the spring of 2002, and Cornell University from 2003-2004. In 2006 he was named Assistant Professor of Social Anthropology at Stockholm University


Linquist's ongoing research focuses on the brokerage systems that are shaping contemporary transnational migrant mobility from Indonesia to countries across Asia and the Middle East. Since the 1997 Asian economic crisis there has been a dramatic increase in documented migration from Indonesia, particularly to Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. At the center of this transformation are a growing number of private recruitment agencies that become brokers between state authorities, employers abroad, and potential migrants in villages across Indonesia. Empirically, the project focuses on the activities and networks of agencies centered in the Indonesian capital Jakarta and the largely rural provinces of East and West Nusa Tenggara, both key sources of migrant labor. This shifts focus away from a primary concern with migrant experience towards the industry and infrastructure that channels migrant mobility. More generally, the empirical concern with migrant brokers offers a strategic methodological starting point for grasping how regulated systems of transnational circular migration are developing in Asia in the context of changing forms of globalization. Lindquist also developes these ideas in comparative terms through his ongoing collaboration with Xiang Biao of Oxford University and Brenda Yeoh of the National University of Singapore in the project “Opening the Black Box of Migration: Brokers and the Organization of Transnational Mobility,” funded by STINT (The Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education) as an Institutional Grant for Younger Researchers.

Lindquist's previous research dealt with the lives of migrants and tourists who pass through the transnational Growth Triangle that connects Singapore, the Malaysian province of Johor, and the Indonesian island of Batam. As a part of this project, Lindquist completed, with Per Eriksson and Liam Dalzell, a documentary film, “B.A.T.A.M.” that deals with the lives of Indonesian migrants on Batam. It was awarded first prize at the film festival at the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association in 2005. It is suitable for undergraduate courses on gender, globalization, and Southeast Asia and is available for purchase through Documentary Educational Resources (

Along with his research in Indonesia Lindquist also has an ongoing collaboration with American artist John Freyer about IKEA and their Billy Bookshelf. For more information see their blog:

Selected publications


  • Figures of Southeast Asian Modernity, co-edited with Joshua Barker and Erik Harms. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.


  • “Labour Recruitment, Circuits of Capital, and Gendered Mobility: Reconceptualizing the Indonesian Migration Industry.” Pacific Affairs 83(1): 115-132.


  • “Images and Evidence: Human Trafficking, Auditing, and the Production of Illicit Markets in Southeast Asia and Beyond.” Public Culture 22(1): 223-236.


  • The Anxieties of Mobility: Development and Migration in the Indonesian Borderlands. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.


  • “Veils and Ecstasy: Negotiating Shame in the Indonesian Borderlands.” Ethnos 69(4): 487-508.