Book launch - Mobilizing for Elections: Patronage and Political Machines in Southeast Asia

This book launch is the inaugural event of the ANU Southeast Asia Institute Research Seminar Series. 

It is co-hosted by the ANU Southeast Asia Institute and the Department of Political and Social Change at the ANU Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs. 

Across Southeast Asia, as in many other regions of the world, politicians seek to win elections by distributing cash, goods, jobs, projects, and other material benefits to supporters. But they do so in ways that vary tremendously—both across and within countries.

This event launches a book that two ANU Bell School scholars, Edward Aspinall and Paul Hutchcroft, have co-authored with Meredith Weiss of the University at Albany, SUNY, and Allen Hicken of the University of Michigan. In Mobilizing for Elections: Patronage and Political Machines in Southeast Asia (Cambridge University Press, 2022), the four co-authors present a new framework for analysing variation in patronage democracies, focusing on distinct forms of patronage and different networks through which it is distributed.

The book draws on a large-scale, multi-country, multi-year research effort involving interactions with hundreds of politicians and vote brokers, as well as surveys of voters and political campaigners across the region.

At the core of the analysis is the concept of electoral mobilization regimes, used to describe how key types of patronage interact with the networks that politicians use to organize and distribute these material resources: political parties in Malaysia, local machines in the Philippines, and ad hoc election teams in Indonesia. In doing so, the book shows how and why patronage politics varies, and how it works on the ground.


  • Professor Edward Aspinall, ANU Bell School
  • Professor Paul Hutchcroft, ANU Bell School


  • Associate Professor Björn Dressel, ANU Crawford School
  • Professor Nicole Curato, University of Canberra

Professor Evelyn Goh, the Director of the Southeast Asia Institute will launch the event.

The ANU Southeast Asia Institute Research Seminar Series is a recurring seminar series that showcases the work of scholars within the ANU working on political, social and cultural issues in Southeast Asia, with the goal of encouraging greater exchange, collaboration and networking amongst the research community.

Contact the Southeast Asia Institute Research Series Conveners: 

  • Björn Dressel at
  • Nicholas Chan at

The event is followed by light refreshments.

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Event Speakers

Edward Aspinall

Professor Edward Aspinall

Edward Aspinall is a Professor in the Department of Political and Social Change, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, ANU. He researches politics in Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia, with interests in democratisation, ethnicity, and clientelism, among other topics.

Paul Hutchcroft

Professor Paul Hutchcroft

Paul Hutchcroft is Professor of Political and Social Change in The Australian National University’s Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs (of which he was founding director, 2009-2013). He is a scholar of comparative and Southeast Asian politics who has written extensively on Philippine politics and political economy.

Björn Dressel

Associate Professor Björn Dressel

Björn Dressel is an Associate Professor, and Director of Research and Impact, at the ANU  Crawford School of Public Policy. His research is concerned with issues of comparative constitutionalism, judicial politics and governance and public sector reform in Asia.

Nicole Curato

Professor Nicole Curato

Nicole Curato is a Professor of Political Sociology at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the University of Canberra. Her work examines how democratic innovations unfold in the aftermath of tragedies, including disasters, armed conflict, and urban crime.

Evelyn Goh

Professor Evelyn Goh

Evelyn Goh FBA FASSA is the Shedden Professor of Strategic Policy Studies at the ANU Strategic and Defence Studies Centre. She is also Director of the ANU Southeast Asia Institute. Goh's scholarship focuses on East Asian security and international relations, and she is a leading authority on Southeast Asian security strategies.