Dr. Rivke Jaffe is Professor of Urban Geography at the Department of Human Geography, Planning and International Development Studies and the Centre for Urban Studies. She heads the Urban Geographies programme group within the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research. Prior to joining the UvA, she held teaching and research positions at Leiden University, the University of the West Indies, and the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV).
Connecting geography, anthropology and cultural studies, her research focuses primarily on intersections of the urban and the political, and specifically on the spatialization and materialization of power, difference and inequality within cities. She is interested in how urban problems such as poverty, crime and environmental degradation are linked to social differentiation along lines of race, class and gender. How does the (colonial) past shape contemporary urban life? What is the role of popular culture - music, video clips, murals, graffiti - in the ways we experience and communicate urban exclusion and solidarity? How are urban inequalities mediated, reproduced and transformed in more-than-human ways, by non-human entities from digital technologies to security dogs? Rivke's engagement with these concerns is motivated by the conviction that researching everyday life in cities can provide important insights into what divides and what unites us, into the social problems we face and the solutions that are possible.
A video recording of Rivke's inaugural lecture "Cities and the Political Imagination", held on June 2, 2017, can be viewed here. A brief video describing why her research received the Ammodo Science Award can be found here. A recent Dutch-language podcast on her work can be found here.
Rivke was recently awarded an European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant to study the role of animals in the formation of urban inequalities. The project, titled ANIMAPOLIS, asks how animals’ interactions with humans and infrastructures co-produce the unequal distribution of risks and resources across urban spaces and populations. It focuses on two critical urban domains, security and public health, that are often characterized by stark inequalities, and takes the role of key animals within these domains – dogs and rats, respectively – as a unique analytical entry-point. Dogs and rats clearly play a role within security and public health, but we know little about how they mediate related inequalities. Through what mechanisms might security dogs co-produce practices of racial profiling, or distributions of rats and rodenticides affect public health outcomes? Starting in 2023, the project will study such mechanisms by focusing first, on the biological specificities and cultural imaginaries of dogs and rats and second, on the spatial, material and affective dimensions of their interactions with humans and infrastructure. The project develops a two-way qualitative comparison, between different urban contexts and between different animals, through multispecies ethnographies in Amsterdam and Rio de Janeiro.
Rivke has been Principal Investigator of a research program (2013-2019) on public-private security assemblages in Kingston, Jerusalem, Miami, Nairobi and Recife. This research, funded by an ERC Starting Grant and a Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) VIDI grant, investigated how governance and citizenship change, as non-state security actors take on an increasingly important role in policing urban spaces and populations. The research team also studied how non-human entities, from weapons to digital technologies, mediate urban security provision. In addition to considering the consequences of security privatization and pluralization, our research explored more-than-human geographies of protection, studying the political role of various technologies, material objects, and spiritual entities. Rivke's own fieldwork in the context of this project began to concentrate on how dogs feature in Kingston's security landscape.
In collaboration with Martijn Oosterbaan (Utrecht University), Rivke led an NWO-GW funded project titled “The Popular Culture of Illegality: Criminal Authority and the Politics of Aesthetics in Latin America and the Caribbean” (2013-2019). Focusing on Jamaica, Mexico and Brazil, the research team studied the popular music, visual culture and material culture through which the socio‐political authority of criminal organizations is produced. The project, which is situated at the intersection of anthropology and cultural studies, connected critical aesthetic theory to research on popular culture and governmentality. The research results have translated into the exhibition "Most Wanted" in Museum Volkenkunde (until March 2020) and an accompanying book published by Amsterdam University Press.
Together with Eveline Dürr (LMU, Germany) and Gareth Jones (LSE, UK), Rivke led the NWO/DFG/ESRC ORA Plus research project “Slum Tourism in the Americas: Commodifying Urban Poverty and Violence” (2014-2018). This trilateral research project investigated tourism in low-income, high-crime areas in Kingston, Mexico City, New Orleans and Rio de Janeiro. Drawing on a multi-sited ethnographic approach, the research team theorized the commodification of urban poverty and violence in the context of global mobilities and urban political economies of spectacle.
Rivke’s research in Jamaica has studied the complicated relationship between the postcolonial state, criminal leaders and the urban poor. This research explored how criminal organizations and the formal state share control over urban spaces and populations, and the formulations of citizenship and sovereignty that result from this. This project, “Between the Street and the State: Crime and Citizenship in Kingston, Jamaica”, was awarded a three-year NWO VENI research grant (2010-2013).
Rivke has conducted extensive fieldwork in Jamaica and Curaçao on environmentalism, urban space and the politics of difference. This research, which formed the basis of a recent monograph with Oxford University Press, forged new connections between urban and environmental anthropology, exploring the ways that concepts of pollution organize relations between raced and classed bodies and urban space. Her interest in environmental issues, and their links to colonial and elite power, have continued through work on ‘eco-chic’ consumption, the history of sanitary reform and representations of natural disasters.
In the Dutch system standard PhDs are employees with full funding; I’m afraid I do not supervise students without this type of funding. For those interested in such positions, do keep an eye out on this website, where all Dutch academic vacancies are listed: https://www.academictransfer.com/en/
Rivke Jaffe (2016) Concrete Jungles: Urban Pollution and the Politics of Difference in the Caribbean. New York: Oxford University Press. link
Rivke Jaffe and Anouk de Koning (2016) Introducing Urban Anthropology. Oxford and New York: Routledge. link
Rivke Jaffe and Martijn Oosterbaan, eds. (2019) Most Wanted: The Popular Culture of Illegality. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. link
Bart Barendregt and Rivke Jaffe, eds. (2014) Green Consumption: The Global Rise of Eco-Chic. London: Bloomsbury. link
Eveline Dürr and Rivke Jaffe, eds. (2010) Urban Pollution: Cultural Meanings, Social Practices. Oxford and New York: Berghahn. Studies in Environmental Anthropology and Ethnobiology Volume 15.
Rivke Jaffe, ed. (2008) The Caribbean City. Kingston and Miami: Ian Randle Publishers/Leiden: KITLV Press.
Peter J.M. Nas, Gerard Persoon and Rivke Jaffe, eds. (2003) Framing Indonesian Realities: Essays in Symbolic Anthropology in Honour of Reimar Schefold. Leiden: KITLV Press.
Gareth Jones, Rivke Jaffe and Eveline Dürr, eds. (2020) Brokers and Tours: Selling Urban Poverty and Violence in Latin America and the Caribbean. Special Issue of Space and Culture 23(1). link
Rivke Jaffe and Francesca Pilo' (2020) The Political Materiality of Cities. Special Issue of City and Society 32(1). link
Lucy Evans and Rivke Jaffe, eds. (2020) Representing Crime, Violence and Jamaica. Special Issue of Interventions 22(1). link
Martijn Koster, Rivke Jaffe and Anouk de Koning, eds. (2015) Citizenship Agendas in and beyond the Nation-State. Special Issue of Citizenship Studies 19(2). link
Freek Colombijn, Christien Klaufus and Rivke Jaffe, eds. (2012) Mobilities and Mobilizations of the Urban Poor. Special Symposium of International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 36(3). 2012. link
José Carlos G. Aguiar and Rivke Jaffe, eds. (2012) Fragmentation, Conflict and Hope in the Neoliberal City: Urban Space in Latin America and the Caribbean. Special Section of Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 33(2). link
Martijn Oosterbaan and Rivke Jaffe (2022) Popular art, crime and urban order beyond the state. Theory, Culture & Society (online first). open access link
Rivke Jaffe and Lucy Evans (2021) Imagining infrastructure in urban Jamaica. GeoHumanities (online first). open access link
Rivke Jaffe, Eveline Dürr, Gareth A. Jones, Alessandro Angelini, Alana Osbourne and Barbara Vodopivec (2020) What does poverty feel like? Urban inequality and the politics of sensation. Urban Studies 57(5): 1015-1031. open access link
Eveline Dürr, Rivke Jaffe and Gareth A. Jones (2020) Brokers and tours: Selling urban poverty and violence in Latin America and the Caribbean. Space and Culture 23(1): 4-14. open access link
Francesca Pilo' and Rivke Jaffe (2020) Introduction: The political materiality of cities. City and Society 32(1): 8-22. link
Lucy Evans and Rivke Jaffe (2020) Introduction: Representing crime, violence and Jamaica. Interventions 22(1): 1-7. link
Rivke Jaffe (2020) Representing crime, violence and Jamaica in visual art: An interview with Michael Elliott. Interventions 22(1): 116-128. open access link
Rivke Jaffe (2019) Speculative policing. Public Culture 31(3): 447-468. open access link
Rivke Jaffe (2019) Writing around violence: Representing organized crime in Kingston, Jamaica. Ethnography 20(3): 379-396. open access link
Rivke Jaffe and Tessa Diphoorn (2019) Old boys and badmen: Private security in (post)colonial Jamaica. Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies 21(7): 909-927. open access link
Rivke Jaffe and Martijn Koster (2019) The myth of formality in the Global North: Informality‐as‐innovation in Dutch governance. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 43(3): 563-568. open access link
Max Méndez Beck and Rivke Jaffe (2019) Community policing goes South: Policy mobilities and new geographies of criminological theory. British Journal of Criminology 59(4): 823-841. open access link
Rivke Jaffe (2018) Cities and the political imagination. The Sociological Review 66(6): 1097-1110. open access link
Rivke Jaffe (2018) A conversation with Gloria Wekker. Development and Change 49(2): 547-560. open access link
Anthony Harriott and Rivke Jaffe (2018) Security encounters: Negotiating authority and citizenship during the "Tivoli Incursion". Small Axe 22(3): 81-89. link
Wouter van Gent and Rivke Jaffe (2017) Normalizing urban inequality: Cinematic imaginaries of difference in postcolonial Amsterdam. Social and Cultural Geography 18(4): 553-572. open access link
Imke Harbers, Rivke Jaffe and Victor Cummings (2016) A battle for hearts and minds? Citizens’ perceptions of formal and irregular governance actors in urban Jamaica. Política y Gobierno 23(1): 97-123. link
Francesco Colona and Rivke Jaffe (2016) Hybrid governance arrangements. European Journal of Development Research 28(2): 175-183. link
Rivke Jaffe (2015) From Maroons to dons: Sovereignty, violence and law in Jamaica. Critique of Anthropology 35(1): 47-63. link
Anouk de Koning, Rivke Jaffe and Martijn Koster (2015) Introduction: Citizenship agendas in and beyond the nation-state. Citizenship Studies 19(2): 121-127. link
Rivke Jaffe (2015) Between ballots and bullets: Elections and citizenship in and beyond the nation-state. Citizenship Studies 19(2): 128-140. link
Christien Klaufus and Rivke Jaffe (2015) Latin American and Caribbean urban development. European Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies 100: 63-72. link
Tracian Meikle and Rivke Jaffe (2015) ‘Police as the new don’? An assessment of post-Dudus policing strategies in Jamaica. Caribbean Journal of Criminology 1(2): 75-100.
Florine Bos and Rivke Jaffe (2015) A rejuvenated approach to urban development and inequality: Young people’s perceptions and experiences in Rio de Janeiro. Habitat International 48: 106-112.
Rivke Jaffe (2014). Hip-hop and urban studies. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 38(2): 695-699. link
Wayne Modest and Rivke Jaffe (2014). New roots: Jamaican ontologies of Blackness from Africa to the ghetto. African Diaspora 7(2): 234-259. link
Rivke Jaffe (2013). The hybrid state: Crime and citizenship in urban Jamaica. American Ethnologist 40(4): 734-748. link
Rivke Jaffe (2013). Visual culture and criminal iconization in Kingston, Jamaica: A photo-essay. Moving Worlds: A Journal of Transcultural Writings 13(1): 131-139.
Rivke Jaffe (2012) The popular culture of illegality: Crime and the politics of aesthetics in urban Jamaica. Anthropological Quarterly 85(1): 79-102. link
Hebe Verrest and Rivke Jaffe (2012) Bipolar antagonism and multi-polar coexistence: Framing difference and shaping fear in two Caribbean cities. Social and Cultural Geography 13(6): 625-644. link
Rivke Jaffe, Christien Klaufus and Freek Colombijn (2012) Introduction: Mobilities and mobilizations of the urban poor. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 36(3): 643-654. link
Rivke Jaffe (2012) Talkin’ ’bout the ghetto: Popular culture and urban imaginaries of immobility. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 36(3): 674-688. link
Rivke Jaffe and José Carlos G. Aguiar (2012) Introduction: Neoliberalism and urban space in Latin America and the Caribbean. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 33(2): 153-156. link
Rivke Jaffe (2012) Criminal dons and extralegal security privatization in downtown Kingston, Jamaica. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 33(2): 184-197. link
Rivke Jaffe, Kevon Rhiney and Cavell Francis (2012) 'Throw word': Graffiti, space and power in Kingston, Jamaica. Caribbean Quarterly 58(1): 1-20.
Rivke Jaffe (2012) Crime and insurgent citizenship: Extra-state rule and belonging in urban Jamaica. Development 55(2): 219-223. link
Eveline Dürr and Rivke Jaffe (2012) Theorizing slum tourism: Performing, negotiating and transforming inequality. European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies 93: 113-123 . link
Barbara Vodopivec and Rivke Jaffe (2011) Save the world in a week: Volunteer tourism, development and difference. European Journal of Development Research 23(1): 111-128.
Rivke Jaffe and Jolien Sanderse (2010) Surinamese Maroons as reggae artistes: Music, marginality and urban space. Ethnic and Racial Studies 33(9): 1561-1579. link
Rivke Jaffe (2010) Ital chic: Rastafari, resistance and the politics of consumption in Jamaica. Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism 14(1): 30-45. link
Rivke Jaffe (2008) As lion rule the jungle, so man rule the earth: Perceptions of nature and the environment in two Caribbean cities. Wadabagei: A Journal of the Caribbean and Its Diaspora 11(3): 46-69. link
Rivke Jaffe (2007) Global environmental ideoscapes, blighted cityscapes: City, island and environment in Jamaica and Curaçao. Etnofoor 19(2): 113-129.
Rivke Jaffe (2006) A view from the concrete jungle: Diverging environmentalisms in the urban Caribbean. New West Indian Guide 80(3/4): 221-243. link
Peter J.M. Nas and Rivke Jaffe (2004) Informal waste management: Shifting the focus from problem to potential. Environment, Development and Sustainability 6(3): 337-353.
Rivke Jaffe (2020) Security aesthetics and political community formation in Kingston, Jamaica. In: D. Asher Ghertner, Daniel M. Goldstein and Hudson McFann (eds.), Futureproof: Security Aesthetics and the Management of Life, pp. 134-155. Durham: Duke University Press. link
Carolina Frossard and Rivke Jaffe (2019) Security and technology. In: Setha Low (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Anthropology and the City, pp. 141-152. New York and Oxford: Routledge. 2019. link
Rivke Jaffe (2018) Dirt, disease and difference in Victorian Jamaica: The politics of sanitary reform in the Milroy Report. In: Wayne Modest and Tim Barringer (eds.), Victorian Jamaica, p. 174-189. Durham: Duke University Press. link
Rivke Jaffe (2018) Urban ecology. In: Hilary Callan (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Anthropology. New York: Wiley. link
Rivke Jaffe (2015) Kingston: Violence and resilience. In: Kees Koonings and Dirk Kruijt (eds.), Violence and Resilience in Latin American Cities, p. 122-133. London: Zed Books.
Joyeeta Gupta, Hebe Verrest and Rivke Jaffe (2015) Theorizing governance. In: Joyeeta Gupta, Karin Pfeffer, Hebe Verrest and Mirjam Ros-Tonen (eds.), Geographies of Urban Governance: Advanced Theories, Methods and Practices, p. 27-43. Dordrecht: Springer.
Rivke Jaffe (2014) Crime watch: Mediating belonging and the politics of place in inner-city Jamaica. In: Hannah Jones and Emma Jackson (eds.), Stories of Cosmopolitan Belonging: Emotion and Location. London: Routledge.
Eveline Dürr and Rivke Jaffe (2014) Pollution. In: Donald Nonini (ed.), A Companion to Urban Anthropology, p. 414-427. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
Bart Barendregt and Rivke Jaffe (2014) Introduction: The paradoxes of eco-chic. In: Bart Barendregt and Rivke Jaffe (eds.), Green Consumption: The Global Rise of Eco-Chic, p. 1-16. London: Bloomsbury. link
Rivke Jaffe and Erella Grassiani (2014). Securing the city: Challenges to human rights. In: Thijs van Lindert and Doutje Lettinga (eds.), The Future of Human Rights in an Urban World: Exploring Opportunities, Threats and Challenges, p. 51-56. Amsterdam: Amnesty International Netherlands. link
Rivke Jaffe (2013) Unnatural causes: Green environmentalism, urban pollution and social justice in the Caribbean. In: Elizabeth Thomas-Hope (ed.), Environmental Management in the Caribbean: Policy and Practice, p. 118-139. Kingston: University of the West Indies Press.
Rivke Jaffe (2011) Hegemonic dissolution in Suriname? Recent challenges to pluralist politics. In: Brian Meeks (ed.), M.G. Smith: Social Theory and Anthropology in the Caribbean and Beyond, p. 185-195. Kingston and Miami: Ian Randle Publishers.
Rivke Jaffe and Eveline Dürr (2010) Introduction: Cultural and material forms of urban pollution. In: Eveline Dürr and Rivke Jaffe (eds.), Urban Pollution: Cultural Meanings, Social Practices, p. 1-29. Oxford and New York: Berghahn.
Rivke Jaffe (2009) Conflicting environments: Negotiating social and ecological vulnerabilities in urban Jamaica and Curaçao. In: Duncan McGregor, David Dodman and David Barker (eds.), Global Change and Caribbean Vulnerability: Environment, Economy and Society at Risk, p. 317-335. Kingston: University of the West Indies Press. link
Peter J.M. Nas and Rivke Jaffe (2009) Iconic cities: A hypercity perspective on pilgrimage sites. In: Soheila Shahshahani (ed.), Cities of Pilgrimage, p. 45-56. Münster: LIT Verlag.
Anouk Fienieg, Robert Parthesius, Brittany Groot, Rivke Jaffe, Sjoerd van der Linde and Pauline van Roosmalen (2008) Heritage trails: International cultural heritage policies in a European perspective. In: Gert Oostindie (ed.), Migration and Cultural Heritage in the Dutch Colonial World, p. 23-62. Leiden: KITLV Press.
Rivke Jaffe (2008) Exclusive cities: Space, social capital and urban fragmentation in Jamaica and Curaçao. In: José van Santen (ed.), Development in Place: Perspectives and Challenges, p. 310-328. Amsterdam: Aksant.
Rivke Jaffe, Ad de Bruijne and Aart Schalkwijk (2008) The Caribbean city: An introduction. In: Rivke Jaffe (ed.), The Caribbean City, p. 1-23. Kingston and Miami: Ian Randle Publishers/Leiden: KITLV Press. link
Rivke Jaffe (2008) Fragmented cities: Social capital and space in urban Curaçao and Jamaica. In: Rivke Jaffe (ed.), The Caribbean City, p. 189-208. Kingston: Ian Randle Publishers/Leiden: KITLV Press.
Peter J.M. Nas, Rivke Jaffe and Annemarie Samuels (2006) Urban symbolic ecology and hypercity: State of the art and challenges for the future. In: Peter J.M. Nas and Annemarie Samuels (eds.), Hypercity: The Symbolic Side of Urbanism, p. 1-19. London: Kegan Paul.
Rivke Jaffe (2006) Looking back, forward or up? Urban symbolism and the politics of race in Jamaica’s Redemption Song. In: Peter J.M. Nas and Annemarie Samuels (eds.), Hypercity: The Symbolic Side of Urbanism, p. 69-84. London: Kegan Paul.
Peter J.M. Nas and Rivke Jaffe (2003) Working with waste. In: Brigitta Benzing and Bernd Herrmann (eds.), Exploitation and Over-Exploitation in Societies Past and Present, p. 301-308. Münster: LIT.
Rivke Jaffe and Emiel Martens (2014) Niet meer welkom a foreign: De schaduwzijde van Caraïbische mobiliteit in Home Again. In: Marc Simon Thomas (ed.), Latijns Amerika in beeld: Visies op een bewogen regio, p. 71-81. Amsterdam: CEDLA.
Erella Grassiani and Rivke Jaffe (2014) De staat voorbij: Privatisering en globalisering van beveiliging. #KijkSW 8: 14-15.
Rivke Jaffe. Prefiguration. In: J.A. Baijens (ed.), Het beste idee van 2014. Tilburg: Uitgeverij de Wereld. 2014.
Rivke Jaffe (2013) Het precariaat. In: J.A. Baijens (ed.), Het beste idee van 2013, p. 252-253. Tilburg: Uitgeverij de Wereld.
Rivke Jaffe and Wayne Modest (2011) Verhalen over leven en dood: de ziel van zwarte muziek. De dood leeft, p. 114-115. Amsterdam: KIT Publishers.
Ken Bilby and Rivke Jaffe (2009) Marronmuziek: Tussen traditie en mondialisering. In: Alex van Stipriaan and Thomas Polimé (eds.), Kunst van overleven: Marroncultuur uit Suriname, p. 166-175. Amsterdam: KIT Publishers.
Jolien Sanderse and Rivke Jaffe (2007) Jonge Marronmuzikanten: muziek en marginaliteit in Paramaribo. OSO: Tijdschrift voor Surinamistiek en het Caraïbisch Gebied 26(1): 43-60.
Rivke Jaffe (2007) Inna di bus: een ritje door Kingston (2007) Mensenstreken 9(1): 14-16.
Rivke Jaffe (2006) Stedelijke fragmentatie in Jamaica en Curaçao. Rooilijn 39(6): 310-319. link
Rivke Jaffe (2005) Repertory grid en sentence completion: twee kwalitatieve methoden in de Caraïbische praktijk. Kwalon 10(2): 22-29. link
Rivke Jaffe (2021) Where and when is crisis? Small Axe 25(3): 178-185. link
Rivke Jaffe (2014) Toward an anthropology of the Caribbean state. Small Axe 18(1): 173-180. link
Rivke Jaffe (2011) Notes on the state of chronic: Democracy and difference after Dudus. New West Indian Guide 85(1/2): 69-76. link
Rivke Jaffe (2010) Tourism, sexuality and power in the Spanish Caribbean. European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies 88: 111-116. link
Rivke Jaffe (2006) Space, ethnicity and capital in reterritorialised Puerto Rican neighbourhoods. Social Anthropology 14(3): 391-397.
Rivke Jaffe (2013) Review of ‘Violent Democracies in Latin America ’. European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies 95: 124-126.
Rivke Jaffe (2011) Reviews of ‘Policing the Caribbean: Transnational Security Cooperation in Practice’ and ‘Elections, Violence and the Democratic Process in Jamaica, 1944-2007’. European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies 90: 112-115.
Rivke Jaffe (2010) Review of ‘Black and Green: Afro-Colombians, Development and Nature in the Pacific Lowlands’. European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies 89: 147-149.
Rivke Jaffe (2009) Review of ‘Guyana 1838-1985: Ethnicity, Class and Gender’. European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies 86: 119-120.
Rivke Jaffe (2008) Review of ‘Decolonizing the Colonial City: Urbanization and Stratification in Kingston, Jamaica’. Bulletin of Latin American Research 27(3): 433-435.
Rivke Jaffe (2007) Review of ‘Beyond Sun and Sand: Caribbean Environmentalisms’. New West Indian Guide 81(3/4): 313-315.
Rivke Jaffe (2005) Review of ‘Language, Discourse and Power in African American Culture’. Social Anthropology 13(2): 237-238.