One of the initial cohort of John Monash Scholars from 2004, Dr Jacqui Baker, has returned to Australia and is playing a leading role within the Centre for Transnational Crime Prevention established within the Faculty of Law at the University of Wollongong in 2000. Transnational crime is increasingly sophisticated and requires a sophisticated response – one that employs new knowledge, skills, technologies and operational mandates.
The research and teaching Centre, with a staff of 15, focuses on organised criminal activities that impact on regional and global security, including narcotics production, trafficking of firearms and people smuggling, terrorism, fraud & money laundering, corruption, cybercrime, along with issues in intelligence-led policing, capacity building and transnational policing.
Within the Centre, Jacqui writes about the politics of security and order in Southeast Asia. With a background in comparative government and anthropology, Jacqui specialises in political ethnography and critical approaches to the study of crime, corruption and violence in Southeast Asia. Her PhD thesis was an ethnography of the transformations in the illicit financing of the state coercive apparatus as democratization effected a reorganization of the security sector from military to police. This study combined two years of fieldwork in Jakarta with Indonesian police and military officers, gang and militia members, Chinese capitalists, drug offenders, politicians and illicit casino operators with years of archival and newspaper research to map the hidden streams of illicit capital that flow to the coercive institutions. Jacqui has also conducted fieldwork with extremist Islamic groups such as Laskar Jihad. Currently, Jacqui’s research interests focus on changes in the economy of illicit narcotics in mainland Southeast Asia.
Jacqui was most recently interviewed by ABC radio for the World Today in early October on corruption and environmental crime. The interview was also carried by Asia Calling, produced in English and then translated into 10 languages and aired on 321 radio stations.
Jacqui has received a grant from the University of Wollongong to produce two one-hour documentaries (in Bahasa and English) on community justice in Indonesia. An ABC radio producer and Jacqui will be travelling to Indonesia in January to start recording. She will produce a documentary that asks why democratization has made Indonesia a safer place for some Indonesians and yet intensified practices and structures of violence for others. The documentary will be released in late 2012.
Image courtesy of "The Conversation"