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Johan Lindquist is Professor of Social Anthropology and previously served as Director of the Forum for Asian Studies at Stockholm University. During the spring of 2020 he will be a Fellow at the Stockholm Centre for Organisational Research and a visiting scholar in the School of Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam. He has previously been a visiting scholar at Harvard and Cornell and a visiting professor at the Asia Research Institute at the National University of Singapore. He is a member of the editorial board of Pacific Affairs, has published articles in journals such as Ethnos, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Mobilities, Public Culture, Pacific Affairs, and International Migration Review, is the co-editor of volumes such as Figures of Southeast Asian Modernity (University of Hawai’i Press, 2013), and the author of The Anxieties of Mobility: Development and Migration in the Indonesian Borderlands (University of Hawai’i Press, 2009).


Lindquist’s research has most generally been concerned with the relationship between transnationalism and migration, with a particular focus on Indonesia and Southeast Asia, but he has also dealt with themes such as HIV/AIDS, drug use, prostitution, factory work, and documentary film. While his dissertation research dealt with the lives of migrants and tourists on the Indonesian island of Batam—part of a transnational Growth Triangle that connects Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia—he has later focused on the forms of brokerage and infrastructure that shape contemporary transnational migrant mobility from Indonesia to countries across Asia and the Middle East. 

Currently he is working on two projects funded by the Swedish Research Council. The first focuses on Indonesians who produce and sell commodities such as followers and likes on social media platforms such as Instagram, but further attempts to develop methods to describe and conceptualize their relationships with a broader transnational market. A second project, in collaboration with Tekalign Ayalew Mengiste, deals with a critical dimension of the intensification and deepening of circular migration, namely the expansion of “migrant preparatory training,” vocational education in the deployment of low-skilled documented international labor migrants from sending to receiving countries. The project takes the circulation and implementation of these training programs as an empirical entry-point for understanding how the recruitment, preparation, deployment and channeling of documented low-skilled labor migration is evolving through increasingly sophisticated means.

Along with his scholarly work, Lindquist has also worked on other types of projects. He is the director of the documentary film B.A.T.A.M. (, which is a companion piece to his book The Anxieties of Mobility. He also has an ongoing collaboration with US artist and scholar John Freyer at Virginia Commonwealth University about IKEA. See, for instance: In the fall of 2019 he was an ”interpreter” in Tino Sehgal’s work This Progress, which opened Stockholm University’s exhibition space Accelerator (

Selected publications

For an extensive list of publications, see


  • Spaces of Mediation: Cross-border Labor Migration and the Changing Role of the State in China and Indonesia (with Xiang Biao). Revue Européenne des Migrations Internationales 35(1&2): 39-62.             
  • Care and Control in Asian Migrations (with Mark Johnson). Ethnos.


  • Illicit Economies of the Internet. Made in China Journal 3(4): 88-91.
  • Infrastructuralization: Evolving Sociopolitical Dynamics in Labor Migration from Asia (with Xiang Biao). Pacific Affairs 91(4): 749-763.
  • Infrastructures of Escort: Transnational Migration and Economies of Connection in Indonesia. Indonesia 105: 77-95.
  • Reassembling Indonesian Migration: Biometric Technology and the Licensing of Informal Labor Brokers. Ethnos 83(5): 832-849.                       


  • Brokers, Channels, Infrastructure: Migrant Labor in the Indonesian-Malaysian Oil Palm Complex. Mobilities 12(2): 213-226.
  • Migration Infrastructure and the Production of Migrant Mobilities (with Weiqiang Lin, Xiang Biao, and Brenda Yeoh). Mobilities 12(2): 167-174-


  • Mediating Migration: Brokering Knowledge and Mobility in Indonesia and Beyond. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 21(S1): 162-177.
  • The Anthropology of Brokers and Brokerage. In International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Science, 2nd edition. Amsterdam: Elsevier.






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

Teaching and advising

Doctoral students: Simon Johansson, Tomas Cole, Jonathan Kraemer

Conferences and invited lectures


  • “Shadow Economies of the Internet: Follower Factories and Markets of Influence in Asia and Beyond.” Workshop co-organized with Patrick Vonderau, Stockholm University, January 25.
  • “Follower Factories in Indonesia and Beyond: Automation and Labor in a TransnationalMarketplace,” invited speaker at the conference, Microwork Platforms: A Challenge for Artificial Intelligence, a Challenge for Employment? France Stratégie, Paris, June 13-14.
  • “Beyond Digital Sweatshops and North-South Divides: Notes on Indonesian Click Farming,” invited keynote speaker, Spring Retreat, Institute of Social Anthropology at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, May 21.


  • “Digital Methodologies.” Organizer, Stockholm Anthropology Roundtable, Stockholm University, September 19.
  • Invited plenary speaker, conference on “Migrations and New Mobilities in Southeast Asia,” Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley, April 27-28.


  • “Defining Digital Markets: Dialogues between Media Studies and Market Studies.” Co-organized with Jennifer Holt, Ramon Labato, and Patrick Vonderau. Stockholm University, September 7-8.


  • Care and Control in Asian Migrations, conference organized at Stockholm University.
  • Infrastructures of Escort, invited speaker at the workshop “Indonesian Infrastructures: Politics, Poetics, Plans”, University of Toronto, March 18-20.
  • Mediating Indonesian Migration: Brokerage, Ethnography, and the Production of Knowledge, invited lecture at CETREN Transregional Research Network Speaker's series, University of Göttinge, January 13.  


  • Migration Infrastructure and Labor Circulation in the Indonesian-Malaysian Oil Palm Complex, invited speaker at the conference “Migration and Late Capitalism: Critical Intersections with the Asia-Pacific and Beyond,” University of Victoria, Canada, June 12.
  • “Suffering, Ethics, Reflexivity,” panel organized at the annual meeting of the Swedish Anthropology Association, Lund University, April 18.
  • Organizing Transnational Labor: Migration Brokers and Employers in the Indonesia-Malaysia Borderlands, invited lecure at the research seminar, Department of Anthropology, University of Sussex, March 31.


  • Mediating Migration: Brokering Knowledge and Mobility in Indonesia and Beyond, inivited lecture at the Ethnography and Social Theory Colloquium, Department of Anthropology, Yale University, October 1.
  • Migration Infrastructure, invited lecture at International Migration Review 50th Anniversary Symposium, International Migration Scholarship in the 21st Century: Critical Issues, Critical Questions, New York, September 30.
  • Migration Infrastructure, invited lecture at the Institute for International Migration, Oxofrd University, May 7.
  • Organizing Global Work: Migration Infrastructure and the Logistics of Transnational Labor in Asia and the Middle East, invited keynote presentation at the conference Transnational Migration and Global Work, Stockholm University, March 6.

Information about past activities can be found in the Department’s previous Annual Reports