Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)

Ms E. (Esmé) Bosma

  • Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
    Programme group: Transnational Configurations, Conflict and Governance
  • Visiting address
    REC BC
    Nieuwe Achtergracht 166  Room number: 10.00
  • Postal address:
    Postbus  15578
    1001 NB  Amsterdam

Esmé Bosma is a PhD Candidate at the Political Science department of the University of Amsterdam. For her PhD research she conducts ethnographic fieldwork in banks and financial institutions to study how they appropriate their role in countering terrorism financing. As gatekeepers of the financial system, banks have the legal obligation to ‘know their customers’ and to monitor their transactions for unusual and suspicious behavior in relation to financial crime. Using insights from Science and Technology Studies (STS) and Critical Security Studies (CSS) Bosma analyses how security judgments are increasingly the result of human-technological interaction and as such, the ways in which technology enables and/or constrains decision-making in security practice. She studies how the emergence of FinTechs in the financial sector impacts the security responsibilities of banks and the possibilities and challenges of data science and Machine Learning (RegTech) in detecting, monitoring and reporting suspicions related to terrorism financing. In doing so, the project provides context to the ways in which private actors weigh the complex and sometimes competing responsibilities of their security, commercial and societal roles and the ethical and practical dilemmas that arise in practice.

Academic background

During her bachelor and master in Political Science she specialised in European security politics whereby both her bachelor and master thesis focused on the way in which 'non-traditional' security actors deal with security responsibilities in practice. She wrote her master thesis about the European local approach to prevent radicalisation and how it has made schools a prime location for countering radicalisation. She analysed how teachers deal with this responsibility to signal and report signs of radicalisation amongst their students.


This PhD is part of the project 'FOLLOW: Following the Money from Transaction to Trial,' led by Prof. dr. Marieke de Goede (UvA) and funded by the European Research Council. FOLLOW observes and analyses countering terrorism financing efforts in practice. The project follows the path of the suspicious financial transaction across private and public spheres through the analysis of how knowledge is formed and mobilised by banks, FIUs and courts. FOLLOW is interested in the everyday life of security practices and the complex dilemmas faced by the actors at stake, and relies on participant observation coupled with in-depth semi-structured interviews. See for more information:

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