Duncan McCargo

Senior Research Affiliate, Weatherhead East Asian Institute; Professor of Political Science, University of Leeds

Politics of Thailand, comparative politics of Southeast Asia

Duncan McCargo’s interests include elections, rallies and protests, political role of media, subnational conflicts, and the politics of justice. He is best known for his agenda-setting contributions to current debates on the politics of Thailand. He spent several years in Thailand, including one in insurgency-affected Pattani (2005–2006). He spent 2012 in Bangkok conducting participant-observation research on the politics of the justice system. For 2013, he will be based at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute.

In addition, Dr. McCargo has lived in Singapore, taught in Cambodia and Japan, and published on Indonesia and Vietnam. To avoid repeating himself, he changes research topics regularly and commits to doing serious fieldwork. Time magazine wrote of his work, “No armchairs for this author… McCargo is the real McCoy.” Foreign Affairs cited his Pacific Review 2005 article “Network monarchy and legitimacy crises in Thailand” as a must-read primer on the country’s politics.

Dr. McCargo’s ninth book, Tearing Apart the Land: Islam and Legitimacy in Southern Thailand (Cornell University Press 2008) won the Asia Society’s inaugural Bernard Schwartz Book Prize for 2009, worth $20,000. His latest book is Mapping National Anxieties: Thailand’s Southern Conflict (NIAS, 2012). He was awarded an honorary doctorate in Thai studies by Mahasarakham University in 2010  and holds a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship until October 2014.

Dr. McCargo appears regularly on BBC radio and television and has written for The Daily Telegraph, The Economist, The Guardian, and Time magazine. He has also given briefings to senior officials including UN staff and the president of the Thai Senate.


E-mail: d.j.mccargo@leeds.ac.uk