Netherlands:Four PhD candidates for research project Public-Private Security Assemblages at University of Amsterdam

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Job description

The Department of Geography, Planning and International Development Studies is one of the departments of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG) at the University of Amsterdam. The Centre for Urban Studies houses one of the University of Amsterdam’s fifteen Research Priority Areas. The Department of Geography, Planning and International Development Studies and the Centre for Urban Studies are looking for four PhD candidates to participate in the research project “Public-Private Security Assemblages”, directed by Rivke Jaffe.

Project description

In cities across the world, people increasingly rely on a broad range of interconnected security providers: police, uniformed security guards, voluntary neighbourhood watches, or armed vigilantes. These different actors, who both compete and collaborate in securing urban spaces and populations, are central to public-private ‘security assemblages’.

The four PhD positions are part of a larger research project, funded by the European Research Council (ERC) and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). This project, led by Rivke Jaffe, is a comparative and multi-sited anthropological study of how citizenship is being reconfigured through hybrid forms of security governance. It will research these transformations by focusing on public-private security assemblages, with particular emphasis on the role of the private security industry. The PhD candidates will be based in Amsterdam and conduct up to twelve months of fieldwork in one of the following cities: Jerusalem, Miami, Nairobi or Recife.

The candidate’s tasks will include:

  • conducting focused ethnographic field research, possibly including quantitative survey research;
  • writing and completing a PhD dissertation within four years;
  • participating in the AISSR or CERES PhD program;
  • 10% teaching;
  • collaborating with supervisors and peers in research and publications;
  • participating in conferences, workshops, seminars and other scholarly activities.


PhD candidates should have the following credentials:

  • a Master’s degree in a social science discipline such as anthropology, human geography or sociology;
  • relevant fieldwork experience; ideally in Jerusalem, Miami, Nairobi or Recife and/or on topics related to security, crime, citizenship and governance. Ethnographic experience is considered an advantage;
  • excellent written and spoken English;
  • linguistic skills relevant to the research location;
  • ability and interest to work in a team.

Conditions of employment

The starting date for the appointment will be 1 February 2014. The full-time appointment is initially for a period of one year; contingent on satisfactory performance it will be extended by a maximum of three additional years leading to the completion of a PhD.

Additional information

For more information please contact:

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