Courses

Below you find the courses of the MA in Global Criminology:

Compulsory Courses

Critical Reflection on Criminology (compulsory)

This course builds upon existing criminological knowledge that students already have from their Bachelor or earlier undergraduate studies. It implies a theoretical deepening and a focus widening. The aim of the course is that students learn to build and support independent, well-grounded opinions about criminological problems, theoretical explanatory models and the formal and informal reactions to them. We will handle several key contributions to criminology from a critical perspective. Each week, a classical or key criminological text will be read and commented upon. With the help of some questions, students will be asked to analyse the texts and put them in context. Students will analyse these texts through questions such as: what theoretical perspectives can be identified in the text, and why? Or, how could we describe and explain the same criminological problem from a different theory or perspective? The course has discussion meetings and feed-back sessions. During the discussion meetings, students confront their different positions on the text, while one or more students will also moderate the meeting. During feed-back sessions, students have the opportunity of writing on paper their positions in the form of short essays, under the supervision of the teacher.
Place of the course within the curriculum:

  • Compulsory course in the master Criminology

Advanced Methodology (compulsory)

1) To know and understand some critical and innovative tools for conducting qualitative research in criminology;
2) to learn to apply some of these methods of data gathering in concrete research, particularly the open interview technique;
3) to learn to structure and formulate a research topic, research question and research design;
4) and to learn to report, both written and orally, research progress and (provisional) findings/results of a project.

Lectures
After an introduction on the role of qualitative methods in criminology (relation with theory, research design and cycle), the course will present the main methods used by (culturally oriented) criminologists as they study crime and crime control. Lectures 2 and 3 will be devoted to present and discuss the open, half-structured interview, probably the most used data-gathering method in qualitative designs. Lectures 4 and 5 will focus on ethnographic research in criminology, covering all practical aspects regarding participation and observation in natural settings. Lecture 6 will be devoted to virtual or online methods: the research of online contents and people using the Internet (virtual ethnography, interviews per email, analysis of websites, etc.). The so called visual methods, i.e. both the use of images as instruments for data gathering, as well as objects of study (photos, film, advertisement), will be handled in lecture 7. The final lecture (8) will focus on data analysis: how should we organize and analyse the texts produced by interviews and fieldnotes? It is expected that students read the obligatory literature in advance.
Seminars
The emphasis during the seminars will be on `doing research¿: students will have the opportunity to discuss about the lectures and the literature, to practice (through discussing, training, presenting or conducting role-playing short exercises) the different techniques taught during the lectures, and to discuss and work on their assignment. We will devote the first 10 minutes of each meeting for questions about the lectures and the literature, and always reserve sometime to talk/discuss about the assignment. It is expected that students actively participate during the meetings. Attendance to lectures and seminars is obligatory and will be assessed in the participation.Assignment
The assignment is individual and consists of a written paper presenting data collected and analysed by the student. The final student presentations (of the assignment research) will take place in week 45.- To know and understand some critical and innovative tools for conducting qualitative research in the field of criminology, particularly those coming from critical legal research and from cultural criminology. The aim of the course is to familiarize Master students with some of the methods used in criminological research, particularly those used by critical legal scholars and cultural criminologists. Although students with Bachelor degrees in law and social science come with different backgrounds and ideas about empirical research methods, their knowledge is either 'theoretical' (never done research before), refer to 'juridical techniques' to be a good lawyer, or is often limited to quantitative and statistical methods. The methods and techniques discussed and applied in this course will be in most of the cases equally new for all of them. After concluding this course, students should have the following capacities:
To learn to apply some of these methods of data gathering in concrete research, with particular emphasis on learning the open interview technique. To learn to structure and formulate in a clear way a research topic, research question and research design of a project.- To learn to report, both in paper and in oral format, research progress and (provisional) findings/results of a project.
Place of the course within the curriculum:

  • Compulsory course in the master Criminology

Cultural Criminology (compulsory)

Cultural Criminology is a relatively young branch of criminology, focused on the question how people ‘make meaning’ through criminal and deviant behavior, and how societal reactions to crime and deviancy are embedded in culture. Whereas in mainstream criminology we currently witness an emphasis on quantitative research, focused on the scientific philosophical goal of erklären; policy-evaluating research and ‘what works-questions’, cultural criminology, on the other hand, focuses on criminological verstehen. It tries to give insight in what deviant and criminal behavior mean to people, what this behavior looks like, how it smells, sounds and feels. Cultural criminologists pay attention to emotions involved in crime, and look at the cultural context from which such emotions and deviant acts emanate. Moreover, they study how culture itself becomes subject to criminalization. This approach demands a qualitative research method and cultural criminologists extensively use ethnography as a research technique. Visual methods, however, are also used, and increasingly so.

Apart from understanding deviant behavior and crime from within, cultural criminology tries to understand societies’ reactions to it. It aims to do so in a culturally sensitive way. Current common criminology theory is predominantly Western and mainly USA-oriented; this presents a problem of ethnocentrism and academic imperialism. Cultural criminology aims at an embedded criminology by situating crime, deviant behavior and societal reactions within the (cultural) context in which they manifests themselves. This course, therefore, gives ample opportunity to go beyond Western crime preoccupations and includes many examples from non-Western contexts. Thereby, it pays critical attention to late-modern processes of consumerism, mobility, migration & social exclusion, securitization, risk society and the intense role of media. As concerns the latter, this course embarks on a thorough and intensive engagement with media productions relevant to the field of criminology. It introduces the ‘film forum’ as a way to study and discuss crime and reactions to crime in our late modern, mediatized reality.
Place of the course within the curriculum

  • Compulsory course in the master Criminology

Research and Thesis Trajectory Criminology (compulsory)

During the Research and Thesis Training (RTT), students will show their ability to individually conduct a research and write a research thesis. Students choose a topic that fits the expertise and research fields of one of the teaching staff.

Students are able to conduct a research autonomously or during an internship. Every student will have one of the teachers as a supervisor during the whole process of conducting research and writing the thesis.

The RTT runs throughout the master programme, meaning that it starts in September and ends in July. It is being taught alongside the existing master courses, making use of different interactive (face-to-face as well as virtual) teaching methods, such as individual writing assignments, seminars, group work (including peer feedback), virtual discussion boards and individual supervision.

Students will submit a provisional research proposal in October and discuss the contents with their supervisor and subgroup participants. Students cannot start the research without approval of the supervisor. Every student will have multiple meetings with their subgroup and supervisor as well as individual meetings with their supervisor. During the course there will be four seminars in which difficulties and problems with conducting research and writing a thesis will be addressed. The seminars will take place in September, January, March and June.

The thesis will be graded by the supervisor in cooperation with the second reader. The supervisor will be the first reader and the second reader is appointed by the thesis coordinator (dr. Brenda Oude Breuil).

Specialisation Global Crime

Crossborder Crime

This course consists of lectures and seminars.

Provisional 9 lectures:
1. Transnational Organized Crime: an introduction
2. History of organized crime: USA and The Netherlands
3. Comparative mafia’s: forms and structures of organized crime
4. Human trafficking (definitions, forms, trends and dilemmas)
5. Illegal Drugs Trade and Drugs Policies
6. Mobility, migration and organized crime
7. Art and organized crime
8. Nexus Terrorism – Organized crime
9. Money laundering and underground banking
Place of the course in the curriculum:

  • Compulsory in Master Criminology, track Global Crime.

Crimes of the Powerful and Green Criminology

There is a growing concern about the crimes of the powerful (Pearce, 1976), i.e. crimes and harmful acts committed by people of high social status for personal or organizational gain. Despite it is widely accepted that these crimes and harms inflicted by ‘trusted criminals’ produce by far the highest and most insidious levels of victimization – in terms of number of fatalities, injuries, illnesses and economic losses – criminology still devotes 5% of its time writing, researching and teaching on the crimes of the powerful (McGurrin et al., 2013). After an introduction that will serve as theoretical framework, the course will first explore different crimes and harms perpetrated by state officials (state crime), including genocide, war crimes, state violence and terror, and political corruption. A second module will focus on the crimes committed by legitimate entrepreneurs and organizations (white collar and corporate crime) and particularly by large corporations, reviewing the explanatory theories at micro and macro level, crime and harm typologies, and the extent and nature of victimization. Three relevant types of corporate crime will be discussed in detail: safety crimes, corporate fraud and tax evasion. Before moving into the field of environmental crimes, some complex and growing forms of power crimes will be presented. Although hardly criminalized, we will look at recent forms of state-corporate crimes, crimes of globalization, and financial crimes. A third module will specifically address the relatively new, growing field of green (eco-global) criminology, presenting the main definitions and theories to explain eco-crime and the most common forms of transnational environmental crime and harm. Three forms of eco-crime will be particularly touched upon: waste and pollution, natural resource exploitation in the Global South, and food crime. Finally, the course will engage in discussing the main responses to tackle the crimes of the powerful at national and international levels.

Provisional 9 lectures:
1. Crimes of the powerful: an introduction
2. State crimes: genocide, war crimes and state violence
3. State crimes: political corruption
4. White collar and corporate crimes: theories, types and impact
5. White collar and corporate crimes: safety crimes, fraud and tax evasion
6. State-corporate crimes, crimes of globalization and financial crimes
7. Green crimes: theories and types
8: Green crimes: waste and pollution, natural resource exploitation, and food crime
9: Tackling the crimes of the powerful: justice, regulation and remedies
Place of the course in the curriculum:

  • Compulsory in Master Criminology, track Global Crime.

Specialisation Crime, Punishment and Security

Global Reactions to Crime and Disorder

Contemporary risk-society has been described as an epoch of increased reflexivity, preoccupations with real and imagined fears, and an overall feeling of vertigo. These preoccupations are reflected in a more repressive, punitive and even, in some cases, a more aggressive stance on crime and deviance – a development conceptualized by David Garland (2001) as ‘the punitive turn’. A security discourse is accompanying this development, in which ‘security’ is hegemonically understood in negative terms only: we have to protect ourselves from insecurities of all kinds. In this course we will look at global responses to crime and deviance against this décor of the late modern ‘culture of fear’. Although the décor is recognized fairly ‘globally’, the roles of the actors, their story line and the plot locally vary greatly. In other words: the fears manifest themselves in different ways; different folk devils are pinpointed, as well as different (kind of) crime fighting ‘heroes’; different policy solutions are found. In short: fluid fears materialise in different ways.
In this course we will look at governmental, corporate, public and media responses to (fear of) crime and deviance, in a comparative perspective. Examples will be presented from empirical studies from all over the world, painting a colourful picture of the many varied responses to crime: from vigilantism and public support for death squads to community gardening; from ‘three strikes you’re out’, overcrowded prisons and deportations to restorative justice; from gated communities to public ‘playgrounds’. Notwithstanding this variety, there are patterns to be recognized in the ways in which different societies deal with fear of crime and the ways these fears are communicated. Some imaginations of ‘the safe and orderly’ (e.g. ‘Dirty Harry’, ‘Big Brother’ et cetera) are reproduced globally. Therefore, we pay particular attention to the workings, manifestations and impact of media representations of crime, deviance, fear and control. The concepts of ‘social imaginations’ and ‘signal crimes’ will be central and we will zoom into how our imaginations of what is going on around us (re)shape our contemporary world.
Place of the course in the curriculum:

  • Compulsory in Master Criminology, track Crime, Punishment and Security.

Digital Criminology

Increasing mobility, intensive technological developments and expanding transnational consumerist markets triggered new developments in preventive control measures promising security in different fields of everyday life. Card-protected office doors, digitalized home protection systems, identity protection software on phones and laptops, secured online money transfers are normalized as tools of accumulative control measures, justified by the sake of individual security. Social relations are shaped by transitional technocratic bureaucracies using surveillance systems that transform the field of policing. These changes elicit growing attention in different academic disciplines, in particular in the field of legal and security studies, with a focus on social effects of securitization, data surveillance and the role of governments in particular data collection practices in protecting privacy and safeguarding accountability.
This course combines theoretical discussions (what is security) with detailed case studies that address, international migration, technologies of security, and surveillance. It provides information on these changes in four main themes. First of all, it covers the spatiality of aerial surveillance and the cultural reproduction of security. Secondly, this course provides in-depth knowledge on the use of private data and smart security in a global context. Thirdly, a critical analysis is provided regarding biometrics, electronic documenting, and visibility in criminal identification practices. As last it covers recent discussions on the impact of surveillance technologies such as social trust, privacy and resistance as data activism. These discussions not only cover the field of social media and secrecy in the age of sharing, but also the regulatory context and technological infrastructures. Students will gain a broad understanding of the competing tensions of national security and privacy in the post-Snowden era, and grasp the looming consequences of this battle for technological developments cyber sovereignty, and human rights.
Place of the course in the curriculum:

  • Compulsory in Master Criminology, track Crime, Punishment and Security.