Sana Jaffrey is a Research Fellow at the Australian National University’s Department of Political and Social Change and a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Jaffrey is a scholar of political violence with over 15 years of experience in conducting original quantitative and qualitative research in Indonesia. During her appointment at the World Bank (2008-2013), she led the implementation of the National Violence Monitoring System (NVMS) data project in Indonesia, the largest publicly available violence dataset compiled for any single country. Before joining the ANU, Jaffrey served as the director of Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC) in Jakarta (2021-2022), where she led a team of researchers to publish reports on violent conflict and extremism in Southeast Asia.
Jaffrey’s research on violent conflict and the challenges of state-building in Asia has been published in several academic journals, including Comparative Politics, Studies in Comparative International Development and Journal of East Asian Studies. She also regularly contributes policy commentary through Foreign Affairs, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and New Mandala.
Jaffrey’s ongoing book project investigates the rise of vigilante violence in Indonesia. Drawing on extensive qualitative and quantitative evidence from Indonesia, it shows how vigilantes develop collusive relationships with street-level bureaucrats to obtain impunity. It argues that vigilantism across the developing world is flourishing not because the state is absent but because its growing presence can be leveraged by vigilantes to protect them from the risks of engaging in mob violence.
Jaffrey received her PhD in political science from the University of Chicago in 2019. Her dissertation on vigilantism in Indonesia was awarded the 2020 prize for best dissertation fieldwork from the American Political Science Association. She has an MA from the University of Michigan and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania.